I glanced over at the ringing phone; the caller ID said it was the school. A small voice said “Mom?” and I knew I’d be making trip down to the school to pick up my youngest daughter. I put aside what I was doing and climbed into the car for the short drive.
When I got to the school, she was waiting in the office. She had that dull-eyed, slow moving look that a child with a fever has. I knew without even touching her forehead that she was hot. She hadn’t been feeling one hundred percent well earlier this morning, but she had a scholarship audition for a summer music camp that could only happen today, and I had been hoping that once she got there, she’d be able to stay there. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if kids are truly ill or just feeling the need for a little tender loving care. This time she was just plain sick.
I held doors open for her and she trudged to the car. When we got home, I carried her backpack in for her, dosed her with a little cold and fever medication, and sent her to bed. About fifteen minutes later, she appeared downstairs, saying she had slept, and was honestly surprised when I showed her what time it was. I think she was a little disoriented, but I turned her around and sent her back to try again.
Sick days when I was little are just blurs in my memory, with flashes of comforting moments, my mother’s hand on my forehead. I do remember the time after I had measles one Thanksgiving, as I laid on the couch, all tucked in and miserable. My father made me a toilet paper roll/red and green cellophane binocular device to turn our black and white television to color for the parades being broadcast that day. Being dishonestly “sick” never was tolerated, but when I needed comfort, it was always there.
Soup is on the menu for today’s lunch, and my soothing hand will be there for her.