The other day I was feeling pretty sick, but as usual was on the schedule to work. When I announced to my boss’ I was calling out sick; there was a moment of silence, followed by a cackling, belly full of laughter. “Mom’s can’t call out sick!” responded my three little managers, rolling around on the floor still laughing. Oh yeah, I thought. I’d show them. I was going to have a sick day goddammit! Even if it killed me.
Lucky for me I got sick over Christmas break. My husband was off from work all week which meant I had reinforcements. So I made my announcement to my husband that I was sick, and needed the day off. I got the same incredulous look from him that I got from the children, followed by the comment, “Really, you don’t look sick.” I get this comment a lot. I have the uncanny ability to look really well when I’m sick. I’m naturally pale, and when I’m ill and running a low grade temperature, my cheeks take on this pinkish, rosy hue, that makes me look as if I’ve just come from a day at the beach. The mucous packed sinus’ gives me just that bit of swelling that people pay their plastic surgeon thousands to recreate. Instead of looking miserable, I look refreshed, so no one takes me seriously.
But I wasn’t going down without a fight, and sternly reinforced my position to my husband that I was indeed sick, and that I was taking the day off to recuperate. He acquiesced, still suspicious that I was faking it, but smart enough to keep his mouth shut, avoiding unnecessary conflict. Feeling somewhat vindicated, I dressed in my coziest pajamas, and snuggled myself under my warmest blanket on the couch, in front of the TV, just like my mom used do for me when I was a kid, (the same way I now do for my own children).
As I lay there in full command of the remote control, my three children stared at me in amazement, then fired a barrage of questions: “Mom, why are you still in your p.j.’s?, Mom, are you sick? Mom, what are you watching?, Mom, can I watch cartoons? Mom, are you going to stay there all day? Mom, are you going to get up to go to the bathroom? Whose going to feed us? Can we lay there with you?” I soon realized that as long as I was in sight, I was in mind. I got up, handed over the remote control, and made my way upstairs to my bed, shutting the door behind me.
Ah, peace and quite until…
“Whose there?” I responded.
“Let us in Mom!”
Oh no, they were back; I hadn’t locked the door. In they came like moths to a flame. Armed with more questions about what I was doing in bed. I asked them what their father was doing, and why didn’t they go spend some time with him. Apparently they weren’t into a Judge Judy Christmas marathon, and wanted to be with me. And I’m thinking, how is it my husband can spend the day on the couch, uninterrupted, completely healthy, and not helping to keep the children from disturbing their sick mother? Again, I think he thinks I’m faking it. And I’m thinking these kids are never going away. I thought maybe if I could throw up they might get grossed out and leave, but the only person I was grossing out was myself. What kind of low had I sunk to?
I needed someplace to go. A reprieve for sick mom’s. A place where the children couldn’t go, and my husband wouldn’t want to. But where? That type of retreat hadn’t been invented yet (but would be going right to the top of my nurse entrepreneur to do list). I needed help now, and I knew just where to go.
I packed my overnight bag, pulled on my heavy winter coat, kissed my three kids on top of their heads, then said goodbye to my husband. He looked at me surprised and said, “Where are you going?” I replied, “To the only place I can get some peace and quiet.“, then walked out the door.
That afternoon, in my cozy p.j’s, snuggled under a warm blanket on the couch, watching T.V. I knew I finally was having that sick day I so deserved. “More soup honey?” said my mom as she checked my forehead for a temperature. “No thanks.” I said.
Then I rolled over and fell fast asleep.
Reposted courtesy of http://www.inthepowderroom.com