Sick? Who Has Time to be Sick?!
There’s a commercial that’s making the rounds that cracks me up every time. I love it for two reasons:
First, the commercial is a baby and a Dad. That’s it. It doesn’t treat Dad like an idiot. He’s not absent. He’s not absent-minded. He’s just Dad.
Second, he looks in and tells his kid he needs a “sick day” and can’t work today. The premise, of course, is that parents don’t really get sick days. (For the record, there’s a Mom one there, too)
This hits home every once in awhile for me and today was one of those days.
I’d had absolutely no sleep the night before. I don’t pretend that’s normal, I try to get my 6-7 hours on average but sometimes that’s just impossible. With work being a bit crazy this month I couldn’t say “geez, I’m so tired, I think I’ll stay home” because then every project on my plate is delayed and all those involved get double the stress they already have.
So work, exhausted as I was, I did. This comes after my daughter was called out sick for the day from school. She rested, played video games, took medicine, and slept some more. Her throat was killing her.
Then came late in the afternoon where I hit the wall, the caffeine wearing off, the exhaustion at its peak…and my day was really only half-over. I still had to go home.
It would be easy to just buy pizza or something and I’ve done that before, but that still takes time and energy . . . and I just didn’t have either. I grabbed some rolls, ham, cheese…cold and flu supplies at the store…and made grilled sandwiches for me and the kids.
You see, like the commercial, Dad doesn’t get a sick day. That’s not a complaint, I swear it’s not. It’s just a fact. When I get sick there are three sets of eyeballs staring at me asking “what’s for dinner” or “have you seen my composition book” or “let me tell you how terrible my day was” and any other myriad of things. I’d recount them for you, but the haze in my brain and the fog I’m looking through don’t really lend themselves to great memory recall.
The overall point is actually that you don’t realize these things until they hit…and then you carry on anyway.
Last week I talked about things you should never say to a single parent. One of them is always “I don’t know how you do it!” There are many permutations of it. “How do you do it?” “How do you manage that?” “You’re raising them alone?” “Wow!” All that confuses me greatly.
I never think about – until I sit here to write – whether or not I am, should, or bother to do the parenting in the house. If you are like me, you just do it. If I don’t do this, they’d probably eat but the reality of the situation is that when I get home the three kids still sitting in the house feel safe. They feel comfortable telling me all about their day. They ask about dinner not to be selfish. They ask because they know I’ll provide it. Tonight was sandwiches…and they all loved them. They trust and have come to simply assume that I’ll be there and catch them if they fall.
Sick, well, tired, beat, injured, angry, sad, depressed, happy, grumpy, or any other adjective you can think of to describe how you’re feeling be damned…all that fades when you know they’ve embraced that you’re the only parent…and they’re good with that.