You never realize that you’re really not getting as much help from your kids as you think until you get sick.
I’ve been sick for a good week now.
I don’t mean sniffles, sneezes, sore throat kind of sick but laid up, more than a week of pure exhaustion kind of sick.
Let me explain a little about my normal routine: in an effort to keep my kids on a routine and so that they don’t feel as lop-sided parentally as I think they really are, I compensate by cooking, doing the laundry, etc. The boys put away the laundry. Hannah cleans the kitchen. Abbi watches them in the afternoon and helps pick up the rest of the house.
But the Thursday after Christmas I caught a head cold.
That quickly became a chest cold.
That . . . very, very quickly turned into pneumonia. I mean, lightning fast. I made the connection my kids did . . . their Mom had gotten sick that fast and was in the hospital one day and never came home. I was determined not to let that happen, even though I put on my brave face.
But somewhere after I went back to work – which I had to, no comments from the peanut gallery, please – and making nightly dinners while my kids sat around saying “I don’t know what to have for dinner” I ran out of steam.
It’s amazing how much steam you realize you actually had each day when you run out.
Today I did seven loads of laundry. Seven! To give you a perspective . . . I have about seven more I have to do still. Five people in one household, two of them girls, tends to pile up the laundry. Get one really girly-girl with lots of delicates and frilly tops . . . and you get the idea. I blew through my whole giant box of borax. I had an extra tub of detergent . . . I’m already tapping into that extra.
This comes after a weekend where, after using my inhaler multiple times in a visit to the college campus my daughter is thinking of attending . . . in the rain . . . with pneumonia. Yeah, I know, for a guy who thinks he’s pretty smart I can be a big idiot sometimes.
But that visit took us to San Francisco and the campus was nice. The kids had a blast, and though my calves are killing me from the stairs, hills, and probably 3 miles we walked with too little oxygen to my brain, I have to admit it was worth it. I took the boys to Ghiradelli Square for the first time. They had ice-cream . . . in the cold . . . and didn’t care that we were getting soaked just a few hundred yards from the ocean. Sometimes a cone with cookies-and-cream ice-cream is all you need to have a good time.
As I tucked the kids in the boys looked at me and said “I had the best day, Dad,” and then I realized the routine was interrupted but their memories were made. That’s what was really important.
Of course . . . then I looked at the mountain of laundry and realized that I still had another 3-4 hours of chores to do myself.
But it was totally worth it.