My thirteen year old daughter is staying home from school today. *
She has a sore throat.
It's not too bad, but frankly she's coming off of three days of standardized testing and the eighth grade is still testing today so they're not letting the seventh graders in the halls, thus no class switches. Also, today is Take Your Child to Work Day. Thus the school has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to show the seventh graders movies. She can watch movies at home in her jammies. A little rest on a little sore throat can do a world of good.
Sometimes you just have to make the call.
But that's not what I wanted to write about.
She is feeling crummy. Low grade crummy, but crummy all the same.
She is in her jammies.
As I type, she is watching 'Blue's Clues'.
I mentioned she was thirteen, right?
Not exactly the target demographic.
I tried to just blow it off, but when my teenaged daughter started yelling - in as much as one yells with a sore throat - answers at the screen, I couldn't resist a little ribbing. "Wow, Lea! Good for you! You just figured out Blue's clues, because you're really smart! (yeah!)"
She looked sheepish, but didn't change the channel.
At least she's not watching the source of all evil, Kathy Lee Gifford. So it could be worse.
As I rolled my eyes at the sight of my daughter, taking up the whole sofa with her gangly arms and legs, helping Steve solve mysteries, I thought about how being sick makes all of us regress. Children long past the thumb sucking phase will take comfort in their thumb, children who never want to cuddle will curl up in their parents lap, stuffed toys and lovies long neglected are clung to once again. I suppose when you take all of that into consideration, it's not so ridiculous for an adolescent to want to watch shows geared towards preschoolers.
Me? I want my mom. When I don't feel well, I want my mom. This makes next to no sense at all. My mom was an RN, and, as such was very matter-of-fact and rarely sympathetic. She was much more of a 'brush yourself off, you'll be fine' sort of parent than an 'oh, you poor sweet baby, let Mommy kiss it and make it better' sort of parent. When she erred, it was not on the side of caution. I went to school with mono for two weeks my sophomore year of high school because 'you're just burning the candle at both ends. There's nothing wrong with you a decent night's sleep won't fix.' When my throat swelled completely shut, she was forced to take notice. I think she still feels a little bad about that. I'm sure that is in no way related to the fact that I remind her of it every year or so.
Her mother, my grandmother, was even less big on the coddling.
And yet, when I'm not feeling well, this is how I take comfort:
I wrap myself in the quilt my grandmother made me. She gave me the quilt as a gift when I graduated from high school. She pieced it together from scraps of dresses she'd made for me when I was little. It's seen better days, but somehow that just makes it all the more special. So Grandma didn't coddle. And she didn't cuddle. But she quilted. And that's a hug I can still wrap myself in now - a decade after she left this earth.
I call my mom, who usually engages in one of those 'well, what YOU need to do...' diatribes that I hate so much, I say, but I keep going back for more. Then she'll call me every couple hours till I'm well, to make sure I'm heeding her advice. I roll my eyes like a teenager when the phone rings, but between you and me? There's a large part of me that's wishing I was lying on her sofa rather than my own.
I drink flat 7-up with a straw. Because that's what Mom gave me when she would finally give in and admit I was sick. Flat 7-up through a straw and jello. Jello with a spoon. We were cold, we weren't weird.
And I eat rice pudding. Yeah, that one is sort of extraneous. No connection to my childhood, but it gives me comfort. I try not to spend too much time analyzing it.
So. Just us Howard girls? Or do you regress when you're sick, too?
And please always remember and don't ever forget, that with me and you, and my dog Blue we can do anything that you wanna do...
*She gave full approval on my taking and using this pic. And FWIW? The blanket she's chosen to wrap herself in is one her dear old mom made from old T-shirts. A different era of sentimentality and comfort.