I hate when my family gets sick.
Yeah, it’s sad, and they’re pathetic when they’re green, but that’s not why- I don’t just dislike when they’re ill in a sweet, empathetic way. The truth is I hate it because it’s way too much damn work.
I used to be kind. Sympathetic, caring and concerned, even. But I’m onto six years of childrearing and far too many bouts of vomiting and the runs to be that compassionate anymore- I’ve simply seen too much.
It’s week 1400 of winter and I’m done. Done with the phone calls summonsing me to fetch an ill kid and take them back to my imprisonment cell, known as our home. Locked away from all my sense of humanity.
I am done with the torture that is playing nursemaid to the wretched.Done with being held hostage to spew.
I am done with knocking it off of soaked bedsheets with a spoon, done with sloshing it off the back of car seats, done with watching it float about my children in the tub like globs of confetti.
I am done with its unpredictability.
Done with the fine line between what a child calls an upset tummy and the lag-time of only 13 seconds before which it ends up splattering all down the front of my shirt, hot and chunky, settling into my bra.
I am done with its inability to ever HIT THE GOD DAMNED BUCKET and I am done with the pipes freezing and toilet seizing at precisely the same time there is projectile fluid coming out of all my family members’ holes.
I am done, most especially, with the intimacy of knowing how it feels and tastes to have someone else’s vomit propelled into my own unsuspecting mouth, mid-slumber.
Done with washing bedsheets, couch cushion covers and rags. Done with pretending towels make for adequate blankets.
Done with saying ‘Poor baby’ and done with wanting to cuddle.
The other day I needed out of the house so badly that I sped off to the local convenience store five minutes down the road, only to find myself circling its lonely perimeters four times before leaving empty handed and calling it a day. That was my me time.
I’ve sort of lost track but I believe this to be day six of quarantine.
Day by day it’s wreaked havoc on each and every one of us, making its rounds on a lucky few on multiple occasions. And yes, I got it too, but guess how many tears were shed for me, how many naps I got to take, how many warm ginger teas were brought to my deserving lips? NOT A SINGLE FUCKING ONE.
Guess how many days I was allowed to drag out the symptoms, how many cool cloths were brought to my head, how many meals were made in my honour? NOT A SINGLE FUCKING ONE.
I put my damn fingers down my own throat with a toddler attached to my breast, attempted to vomit, and got on with my life. Because when you’re a mom there is no time for the sooking, sulking, whining, moping or making excuses. Somebody has to step up and move on. Someone has to take charge- Unfortunately for them, it was me.
When I was a kid I longed for my mom each and every time I got sick. I remember how comforted I was in knowing she would know just what to do to make me feel better.
Well guess what? My kids don’t ask for me.
Day one, night one of a sickness, sure, I still have a heart. Day six, night seven- GET THE CUP OF WATER FOR YOUR DAMN SELF AND LET ME POOP IN PRIVATE, PLEASE.
We went from chicken soup and lavender oil roll-ons to syringes of tylenol down every throat and a swift boot to the rear out the door.
I do love my children, I do. But I don’t do sick. So get better, or else.
My mom and dad used to say they wished with all their might that it could be them who got sick each time, instead of little vulnerable me- and I think I finally get why.
They weren’t being sweet, they were speaking the language of strategy.
So next time flu, for the love of God, hit me hard and fast like you do them- like I know you can. Take me, and leave them to serve me and my every whiny need and desire.
Take me down or take me away, don’t trap me here in purgatory for one more moment- I’m just not strong enough.
Signed, the heartless, horrible mother