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Love and Hate

The ups, downs and overall delights of parenthood
Apr 6, 2011
09:26 AM

I Hate Germs!

I seem to welcome every little guest and critter into my house. Bring on the kids and dogs, fish and cats. Even spiders get a fighting chance. But germs? I hate them. Yet it seems that I to have to embrace them anyway.

I Hate Germs!

I'm listening to an audiobook about the history of the English language right now. It's called "The Adventure of English." One fact has certainly stood out to me. When the Black Death plague swept through England in the late 1340s, two-thirds of the clergy died. Why? They had to take care of the sick people.

Hmmm. What does that remind me of?

Last week I wrote about the new phase of my relationship with my older daughter Patti and how independent she's becoming. The story ended with a twist, though. She came home sick from school that day and, for a change, she really needed her mommy. The first two or three nights, she came to me tearfully at bedtime, wanting to get in bed with me, just like the sweet old days. I thought it was for the best. She was having high-spiking, nauseating fevers, and I had to keep the Ibuprofen going every six hours.

Well, a week later Patti is fine and back to her normal, eye-rolling tween self. And over this week, something very special has passed between us. That's right. She has given me her hellacious cold!

I mean, when I saw that she was leaving little traces of some wetness or other on my pillows I wanted to snatch them out from under her and drag her back to her bed, even if she cried like a weak little kitten. But I couldn't.

Just recently I heard a story of a mom who makes her HUSBAND sleep in another room when he's sick. But who can look at her dopey-from-fever, flushed-faced, red-nosed, pitiful little child and say, "OK, kid, I want you and your germy little nose outta here, on the double!"?

Apparently, not I.

On the other hand, my husband took one look at that dripping nose of hers and made himself pretty scarce.

So I coddled both my soon to be 10-year-old daughter AND her myriad germs for four days. And what do I have to show for it? She has recovered is back at school. And, I like to imagine, she is appreciative that I nursed her back to health.

I, however, have spent the last two days on the couch, staring into space and wishing my mommy could come and take care of me. After all, I am dopey-from-fever, flushed-faced, red-nosed and pitiful. But when the kids come home from school, they don't bring me my meds and hot tea. They don't replace my empty tissue boxes with full ones. They don't make sure I have enough blankets wrapped around my trembling form.

They have needs. They have demands. They have homework! So I get up and do my best.

I'm a mom.

The germs stop here.

It's in the job description.

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