Today my twelve year old was home sick with a cold. Not a flu, or a horrible illness like Scarlet Fever or Pneumonia, just a slow down your day and clog up your head cold. This means that today, I was home, not working my paying job, still working for sure, but not to buy groceries and pay electric bills.
I remember once, when I was in high school, perhaps 17, being sick and stuck at home. I remember my mom moved me to the spare bedroom and set up a tv for me to watch. I remember feeling sad, and alone as she drove my little sister off to preschool, went to get groceries and in my mind, continued on her daily life with little regard for the fact that I lay ‘dying alone.’ (Obviously, I did not die, it was just a mild case of the either the measles or the mumps, as a reaction to my booster shot before going off to college. And I am sure, my mother was not going about her daily life ignoring her middle daughter, but in fact buying me apple sauce and cream of wheat, the only foods I would eat.)
Today, I left my eldest daughter to take her little sisters to school, to stop at a weekly moms group for a quick hello, and to go to the grocery store to buy her vitamin C, tissues, and more chicken soup. I did leave her with a tray of food, hot tea, a couple books and her iPhone. And I did check in with her electronically while I was out, several times.
Still, I felt a pang of sorrow, sadness, and remorse as I was driving home, since I was gone longer than I had anticipated. She did not mind. She did not get out of bed or need anything while I was gone. She did not want to move down stair. She did not want to accompany me to bring lunch to her father around noon. She was fine. I guess I was fine.
So I made grand plans: wash, dry and fold six loads of laundry; sort through their winter clothes and replace them with the spring ones; clean out the book shelves; rearrange the kitchen cabinets; maybe even muck out the chicken stalls and clean the bunny house. I did not.
I did get lunch to my husband, and check in with work to let them know I will be there in full force tomorrow. I did make a pot or two of tea, and a lovely chicken noodle soup. I did put one load through the laundry.
But most of all, I did reach out to my daughter, a second time. When I returned from my lunch duties, I went and sat with my daughter and suggested we go out to sit in the warm spring sunshine. I did bring her a fresh made salad and afternoon tea. And I did connect with her, but not in the way I thought.
She and her sisters play Mindcraft. I have tried and failed to full grasp how to move and build and create, but they build towns, farms, castles. She asked me if I could help her with what might be in a barn. I suggested stalls, a hay loft, perhaps some windows for light. She meant would I help build these things. Hmmm…
She got me set up, using her little sister’s iPod while she was on her iPhone and together we built a farm. We added three stalls and shelves for food and supplies, trap doors and a hay loft, a small side room with a bed for the stable hand (or us), we made a pig pen and a sheep coral with a lean-to. All the while laughing harder than I have laughed in a long time. I was “almost as helpful as a three year old on a real farm” she said. I couldn’t open or close doors and gates, definitely still working on climbing ladders, accidentally put holes in walls, fences and ceilings, and lost 20 sheep when I tried to plant new grass. But we had fun. We laughed. We rolled almost off the bed, tears streaming down our faces as she tried to help me, to help her. She was animated and engaged, happy and light, definitely still congested but filled also with love and contentment.
After two hours, I had to return to school to retrieve her sisters. This time, she was rather sad to see me go, and for the game to end. But her spirit was renewed and soared for the afternoon. I returned to find her up and dressed, all packed for a dance run through scheduled for later in the afternoon, and having made herself tea and reheated the soup. She met us in the driveway with smiles and open arms. Well on the road to recovery from the food medicine of laughing with Momma.
We connected and it was good. A good day spent.