They’re Smarter than You Think

My father always used to tell me something:

“Kids are smarter than anyone gives them credit for.”

He’s so right, too.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that every parent thinks their kid is the smartest, most amazing kid on the planet.  I’m sure I’m not different, but this is not about IQ, it’s the fact that kids are far more aware of things than most parents think.  My kids are no different.

I talked a little about being sick and the worry I saw in my kids’ faces.  That’s not a surprise.  But my kids worry more when they hear that I’ve gotten pneumonia and the bug attacked me so quickly I was bedridden in less than a couple days.  That’s what their Mom caught and she didn’t come home again from the hospital, so I looked at my sons who were constantly hugging and talking to me as the days whittled by.

But when I went back to work, both because I was sick of being cooped up in the house for six straight days and also because I needed to work.  Throughout the day I started getting text messages from my daughter:
“how are you doing?”
“fine.  But run down, but I’ll stick it out.”
“Come home if you don’t feel good.  I don’t want you getting sicker!”

When I got home Abbi told me how worried she was about me.

It was then that I realized that sometimes you have to put on a brave face and look stronger than you are.  I realize now that my parents must have done the same.

It’s a difficult thing to portray to your kids that you’re still immortal.  Mine saw through that facade nearly two years ago after they lost their Mom.  Now, no amount of pleading and swearing at them will convince them that I’m well enough to work until I’m actually well enough to work.  So when sitting on the couch resting, my kids come to me and hug . . . and I tickle them, without chasing them around the room.  I stay up and watch an extra episode of Homeland (which we just started watching) on VOD with my oldest, just so I look like I normally do . . . up late and working hard.

Then 6am rolls around and the amount of coffee I need to survive the day should go into an IV just to keep me upright.

But it’s worth it.  I’m getting better each day, 5 days of antibiotics left, and I can breathe a little better.

And each breath I take helps the kids breathe a little easier . . . so it’s totally worth it.

3 thoughts on “They’re Smarter than You Think”

  1. Of course, I haven’t been there yet, but I’ll give you my two cents. Your kids need to see you take care of yourself. They need to know not that you are well, but that you will do what is best for your health first. Putting on a brave face just scares them. They’ve seen that face before.

    It also teaches them that they need to put their health first. One day they will have to make the choice between going to work and taking that extra day to get better. My mom didn’t teach me that. It wasn’t her fault, but it put me in peril a lot of my life. I worked with pneumonia for seven days (I even worked some doubles) before my hubby grabbed me up and took me to the hospital. No amount of money is worth it.

    But you know how it is over at the site…you gotta parent the way you parent.

    Glad you are feeling better.

    1. Totally agree, Ella. I guess I should have posted in there…two years ago I’d have toughed it out longer, even worked through the pneumonia. I went to work once with such a bad ear infection my ear was bleeding while I edited tape. The station managers forced me to go home. Now, once I felt it in my chest – and being asthmatic I know when it goes there – I was at the doctor. I had the medications, ready to do it, all that. It was all about appearances. Laundry piled up, the kitchen a mess, and I conducted the home front from the couch. I’ve made progress!

  2. Your kids need you to be stronger than they are. It helps them to feel safe and that allows them to be free to be normal kids. Sometimes ‘putting on the brave face’ is exactly what you have to do for their benefit (even if it means IV level coffee… ).

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