Been There, Done That

By Laura Nethken Published:

There's no way I can judge if I'm coming down with something by the way I feel in the morning. As a natural-born night person with a daytime job, I never feel good in the morning.

Morning people are the ones like my husband, who wake up before the clock goes off, don't even know what a snooze button is and don't stand there zombie-like at the kitchen counter praying for the coffee pot to hurry up already.

They're the ones I see at work who ask "How are you today?" at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m.

I have no idea how I am. It's way too early to tell. I'll check back in with you later and let you know.

People ask me why I never got an evening or nighttime job. Now why would I want to do that? I love my job and I love the fact that it is a daytime job.

By the time I really wake up and start paying attention, it's almost lunchtime. After that it's a couple-hour downhill slide to quitting time. That leaves my totally awake time for stuff that I want to do at home with friends and family, and dogs, of course.

As a kid, staying home from school when you were sick was great -- provided it was a one-day sniffles or sore throat ordeal. You know, nothing that would interfere with tomorrow, or God-forbid, the weekend.

If you were staying home, you just stayed in bed, watching cartoons. And Mom was there. She gave you breakfast in bed, hot chicken soup for lunch and Popsicles for your sore throat. You have to love that old wives' tale about feeding a cold.

You rested all day, watching TV, with no homework or anything else pressing to do. It was amazing, as long as that first part of not being too sick held out. If you were really, really sick, then it stunk -- even with Mom and Popsicles.

As a 20-something on your own, but with no kids yet, staying home from work sick is still great. Provided we're still abiding by that one-day, no interference with the weekend rule.

Every now and then it's nice to just stay in bed and curl up with your favorite book dressed in your comfiest jammies and fuzzy slippers and praying there's a "Columbo" marathon on that day.

When you're married and your husband is sick, it's awful. The person who is always so tough and so strong is now dependent and vulnerable. You turn into your Mom, or his. You bring him the TV remote and breakfast in bed. You find the truck magazine he left out in the garage and make him some chicken soup. You baby him until he's back on his feet.

Once you have kids and they get sick, it's the same thing. You turn into your Mom again. You flip on the cartons and morph into Molly Maid, tending to their every whim.

It's a cake walk, as long as they're really not that sick and we stick to that don't interfere with the weekend rule. And most importantly, that you're not sick, too.

When you're both under the weather, you're in deep doo-doo. You muster up every ounce of strength you have and you take care of your baby, no matter how old that baby is.

You are instantly no longer sick.

And even if you are it doesn't matter anyway. It's not about you anymore. It hasn't been since the day they were born.

Or course, you have to realize there are times when no amount of "mustering" will give you enough strength to take care of them.

Then you know exactly what you must do -- call your Mom -- because no matter how far into your 40s you are, you're still her "baby."

And if she's not available, then you turn to the next best thing, the man who took you for better or worse, sickness and health, and helped bring those sick kids into this world. Thanks, honey.

Copyright 2012 Laura Nethken

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