You know the kind of days I'm talking about. I'm talking about the days when you got to nap on the couch and watch endless TV and movies (for me it went from Muppet Babies to Anne of Green Gables to Gone With the Wind to every Judy Garland movie under the sun) -- the days when soup and orange juice and a bottomless supply of tissues were only a "MOM!"-call away.
In college, I still would call my mom when I was sick. I would still indulge myself in an old movie, sleeping all day long, and a day or two of skipped classes.
After college, Elliott became my caretaker -- the one who would listen to every moan and sniffle (admittedly, I'm a terrible sick person aka I'm a drama queen and want pity when I'm sick... although there was that time I had the swine flu and was legitimately delirious).
And now? Oh, boy. Now. Now, I'm joining the millions of other parents throughout the world who no longer get sick days.
The last week -- well, ever since returning home on Monday -- has been a learning experience. True, I got sick in December, but it was nothing compared to this past week. The world around me was a constant undulation -- waves moving up and down, up and down, causing me to crawl around on the floor like Gwen, or just give up and lie down. I've been desperate for sleep, but unable to find it -- not so much due to the midnight-feeding-cries but more to do with that annoying I'm-sick-and-just-can't-sleep factor. Naptime for Gwendolyn has been naptime for mommy as well -- or at least, mommy-is-gonna-lie-down-and-wait-for-the-world-to-stop-spinning-time. And now that the waves have stopped, I'm still left with the feeling that my head is going to float away.
But there have been no days-on-the-couch for me. Nope. This week has been the normal play-with-baby, care-for-baby, bring-baby-to-the-doctor-for-her-eye, sing-to-baby, pray-with-baby, feed-baby, calm-baby week. The house has been left in utter chaos, but I've still managed to feed my entire family (and myself) AND clean the dishes. It's been mildly productive, even if I have felt like I've been swimming the whole time.
This isn't a pity-party. This is more of an awakening -- a realization that parenthood requires sacrifices I never thought I'd be able to make. Whenever I comment to other parents about my amazement at their lives ("You homeschool six children?" "You have toddlers, a pre-walker, and another baby on the way?"), they always tell me: "You just do it." And yeah. You just do. Some days, your prayers are desperate cries of, "Help me! Help me! Help me!" but then you just do it.
So I'd like to raise my virtual glass of orange juice to all the parents out there who never get sick days -- and especially to my own parents, and my mom in particular -- because even though my childhood memories are peppered with my own sick days, I cannot for the life of me remember my mom being sick. And that's because she is a mom, and moms just don't get sick days.
Here's to you!
(I didn't have OJ in the house. Just green drink. Because I'm weird like that.)
Oh, wait: this is orange: