Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sick Kids

It's never easy when your kids are sick.  You feel so helpless when you see their hot, red faces and bright, feverish eyes.  You sleep on the floor of their rooms in case they need you in the night.  You spend hours in the doctor's waiting room.  You pick up prescriptions, then try to coax your sick child into actually swallowing the medicine.  You buy popsicles and ice cream for sore throats, 7-up and saltines for shaky stomachs.  Then you fret and pray and wait for them to get well.  When they were babies, I thought it would be easier when they could talk and tell me what was wrong.  But somehow, it never seemed to get any easier.  When they were older, being sick meant they were falling behind in school, missing games and meets and concerts and auditions they'd been looking forward to, and there was nothing I could do but take care of them and wait for them to get better.  Two of my three kids got sick the first week they were away at college, and I quickly discovered that taking care of sick kids is much easier than not being able to take care of them.  This week one of my grown-up kids is sick, very sick, and once again I am feeling helpless.  I check in by phone.  I google symptoms.  I offer advice and sympathy.  But mostly, I fret and pray and wait for him to get well.  As I wait, I realize something: it's always going to be this way.  No matter how old my kids get, when they are sick, I will worry.   How do I know? All this fall while Steve has been undergoing radiation treatments, his 90-year-old mom has been doing exactly what I'm doing: calling and worrying and waiting for her boy to get well.

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