I stayed home from work today because my baby was sick. He started feeling bad yesterday, and there is a virus going around, so I anticipated he would probably have to stay home today.
When your child is sick, it is stressful, whether you work or stay at home. Beyond the heartache of your child not feeling well, there is the burden of having to miss work, which means you have to use up a sick day or not get paid. You have to reorganize and reschedule and redo. You might have to do some work at home. You might worry what your boss thinks about you missing work. Depending on the job, it might mean putting your co-workers in a bind or creating inconveniences for your clients or customers, or in my case my students.
Last night when Joseph, my baby, told me he felt bad, I emailed my boss and school secretary and let them know I might be missing work. Then when I had to call in this morning, I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel stressed. I didn’t worry over what my students would do, how I would have to change my lesson plans, how I was using one of my precious sick days. Instead, I chose to embrace with joy the opportunity to stay home with my child.
Because I know the days of staying home with him are almost at an end.
My baby is twelve and in sixth grade. My baby is as tall as I am. My baby is not a baby at all. He doesn’t need me as much as he used to, and sometimes it is hard to let him not need me. I have been taking care of my children for over sixteen years, and so I don’t remember what it’s like to not have someone rely on me. My two older children, both in high school, still love me and need me, but in a different way, not the way a young child needs his parents for completeness and safety and even for his identity and survival. And now Joseph is on the edge of that. One day he will not need me to stay home with him, in the same way he doesn’t need me to read him stories at night or fix his dinner plate or cuddle with him when we watch television.
So today was a day of watching movies and napping and being with my son, because today might have been the last time I will need to stay home with him. I did grade papers, but I did so in our family room, with my Joseph close by. Several times throughout the day he hugged me and thanked me for taking care of him. At one point, maybe after the fifth or sixth hug, with Joseph’s big arms wrapped around me, my head on his shoulder, I said, “Sweetie, I really haven’t done that much.”
He responded, “Yes, you have. You’re here. That’s all I needed.”
Welcome to my Blog! I am a wife, mother of three, high school English teacher, and a graduate of the Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. Before anything else, I am a woman of faith.