Nineteen: Sniffles


“Sometimes I think illness sits inside every woman, waiting for the right moment to bloom.”  – Gillian Flynn

A wise healer friend always reminds me that while I might feel that I have to offer up every last bit of energy for my family, if my ship goes down then they go down with it. Here I am, starting to take on water.

The common cold has run its first course through our household. My daughter started with a persistent cough. Then my husband caught it. Next, my son started coughing but it quickly turned into the labored breathing associated with croup. This is the point where I start sanitizing doorknobs and encouraging everyone to wash their hands. Instead, I slept beside my son to make sure that he was breathing soundly through the night. I woke up the following morning with a sore throat.

I naively figured that if I was exercising regularly then maybe I could cheat the rules of virology. The funny thing is that I was just coming to a turning point where I felt like I was sliding backwards a bit on the motivation front. I was still moving and grooving, but I didn’t have the same manic determination I started the year out with – BOOM, illness. With that comes moodiness, not-so-great moments of parenting, and a big ol’ heap of indifference. The truth was that I was feeling disappointment with the timing of this virus. I had been coordinating parents to do a service project for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and my husband kept reminding me that it wouldn’t happen with a sick child in tow. I looked at every juvenile wipe of the nose on a sleeve or hand as a viral attack, and unleashed my fury. I was tumbling from a rather first couple weeks of balanced living into a significant fall from grace.

As Jodi Picoult writes, “Real mothers admit it is easier to fail at this job than to succeed.” When I chew on that one for a minute, I realize parenting is like the Great Bear Hunt. I am going to come to a field of grass or a river or a mudflow. I can’t go over it. I can’t go under it. Might as well go through it. Take my vitamins. Drink my tea. Admit my mistakes to my kids and do my MLK service project at home: practice non-violent communication.




Altered photo from Flickr Creative Commons, “Sick Day” by Faruk Ates

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