**Warning: possible spoiler alert for This is Us fans**
Are there any of you who are working moms, who also treasure every single second of a sick day at home spent with one of your kids? The thought of taking sick days and running out of them is always a fear of a teacher parent, but when the day comes and we all know we can't predict them, there's not one single second I regret having to take.
With our son starting kindergarten, we have had MANY bouts of illness this school year. Everyone told us that we would; that the germs and bugs and viruses would be limitless, and they were 100% right. December through January has been extremely rough, forcing our sick days to dwindle, but I refuse to complain. It breaks my heart when one of our children is sick, yes, but I know that they cannot help it, it's not their fault, it's not our fault, and therefore I should just embrace it.
Today my son is home sick with a stomach bug. He threw up at school yesterday [that was a first] and the pitiful guy puked again and again once home, until coming to a halt around dinner time. I gave him sips of silver water [my mom's natural remedy go-to] and set a timer on my phone for when he could have more. We switched to Gatorade when he was clearly holding that down, and knock on wood, I think that's the shortest virus or stomach bug he's ever had. At one point this morning he said, "Mom, what should we do?" I responded, "I think I need to hold you." He climbed into my lap and rested his entire torso down my body. At five and a half years old and with a six foot four dad, he is quickly becoming as long as me. I literally stared at the numbers on the DVD player in our console. "Please don't move," I prayed. "Please let me hold you for one more minute." At one minute exactly, he said, "Mom, I think I can get down." I quickly said, "One more minute." For two entire minutes, I held my son in complete peace and quiet.
Do two minutes not sound like a long time? Well, that's because it's not, of course. Two minutes too short for Mom but clearly two too long for a growing and energetic boy. It had me thinking about ALL the (many) times I would walk through the grocery store, both kids restless, hyper, sometimes screaming and fighting. I would mostly get nothing but sentimental smiles from all the older women who passed by, and I would always hear at least ONCE, "Cherish these days because they'll be gone before you know it." At the time, I wanted to punch anyone who uttered that phrase to me in the face. And hard. In my mind then, those days were never going to end, my life would never again entail calmness, and these children were surely going to ruin me.
Enter this new year, 2018, when my kids are four and five years old. Life is still pretty chaotic when we go places, especially to Target or Lowe's or really anywhere that WE want to get a few things done. But at the same time, it is immensely and heartbreakingly different from just a year or two ago. Y'all...I don't even know time has slipped through my fingers THIS fast.
Do you watch This is Us? Did you watch Parenthood? I literally cried EVERY damn episode of Parenthood. Every single one. Sometimes when it ended I would not even be just casually wiping tears, I would be SOBBING into pillows on the couch. This is Us hasn't been THAT dramatic or emotional for me, but we are now getting to the season (I hope you're caught up!) where the father Jack dies. And he is going to die in a FIRE of all things. The last episode showed all three of his kids disregarding him and putting him off, choosing their friends or girlfriends over him. They do a long drawn out moment where the camera shows Jack looking at his children's heights marked on the wall and he smiles, pausing to remember. Earlier in the episode, he reminds his wife that this is their "last Superbowl with the kids" because they are all seniors in high school. It knocked me like I had been thrown from an airplane; my chest hurt, my heart rate soared, and I wanted to CRY. Nothing bad had even happened yet, it was just proof that these years, ALL OF THEM, are fleeting. They are racing and flying and sprinting and I swear to you every year is over quicker than the last.
Every single second of today was wonderful. I don't think there is a time in 24 hours of a day that I am happier than when I am home with my kids, (or when I am with Addie, the horse down the road.) There's something extra special though about the 'sick days' spent at home. When the mantra for the day is to rest, rest, and more rest. He tried to get out of napping but I kindly reminded him that his body will recover even MORE if he sleeps, and because he's the most obedient child I know, he's very peacefully sleeping upstairs. My last post was kind of joking about how I stay up so late because my kids need me SO drastically at bedtime; but the truth is, mamas, I wouldn't change any of this. Before I know it, they are going to be eighteen, filling out college applications, and no longer request tummy tickles and You are my Sunshine.
If there was a way for me to stop the clock, just for a season...just to enjoy their current ages a LITTLE longer, I really would. I have loved every stage, (well, maybe not the threenager months with a certain girl of mine) but still. Four and five is pretty great, and I think I'll just keep begging them to let me hold them, if even for one more minute.