Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The guilt of having sick kids

My younger son's nose was running when I picked him up at school today. What do you think my first thought was?

For those of you who guessed "Oh, you poor baby" -- nope. Try again.

What's that? You think it was "What can I do to help this boy feel better soon?" Uh, no.

Oh, so you say it must have been: "Wow, I hope he's better in time for our trip to Mexico this Saturday. It would be so miserable for him to fly with a cold."

Unfortunately, my first thought was none of these. Instead, it was: "Crap, he'd better not give it to the rest of us."

And my second was equally unsympathetic: "Don't touch me, kid. I know those fingers have been near your nose. I can't afford to get sick now."

I wish I were the kind of mom who cuddled her kids when they felt sick, got into bed with them to pass the day watching movies, hugged and kissed them to help them through the misery of their illness. Instead, I treat them as though they've got the plague, and I touch them as little as possible. I wash and Purell my hands every few minutes to get rid of their cooties. I won't let them use my cell phone or help set the table. GET AWAY, GET AWAY, I'm thinking constantly.

To be fair, if there are germs in the house, they always settle on me, and as some of you know, I never get a little bit sick. I get a lot sick. A small cold for everyone else turns into a major ordeal for me. Such is the burden of asthma. Still and all, I hate the fact that I treat my kids like lepers when they're sniffly, and I wonder if they're going to remember it.

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I've got to go wash my hands.

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