The first time my daughter was sick, at a few months old, I called my mom and cried. I had no idea how to care for this tiny baby who was so miserable. And then I had to go to work.
Before I had a child I thought that if your child had a sick day, it was a nice day off for you, too. Little did I know that most sick days are preceded by sleepless nights, changing sheets multiple times in the night and rinsing out puke from hair and ears. And that’s just you.
Two and a half years into parenting, we have somewhat figured out the sick routine. My husband and I generally split the day, one of us heading into work in the morning, then a switch off at lunchtime. It gives us each a chance to be at the office but take turns watching our daughter.
Our daughter caught the bug going around daycare and is home today. Instead of us splitting the day, I will take the entire day with her. With my late nights and impending travel for work, it’s only fair that I stay home with her so my husband doesn’t have to take more time off. I will still be connected to work all day, writing and editing, answering calls and emails, and when my husband gets home, head to a work function until late tonight.
It’s frustrating when we realize that we need to shuffle our work schedules. But I am quickly reminded of how lucky we are to have flexible jobs, the ability to check in from home, the sick time to be with our daughter, and most importantly, a healthy child. It helps to balance the whining, inconsolable crying and general aversion to anything. That, and a little TV to help me write this for five minutes while answering work emails.
I remember sick days when I was younger. It meant watching The Price is Right on the couch, under piles of blankets, snoozing through the day and not being tired enough at night for a good night’s sleep. When sick, all I could focus on was wanting to feel better. Then, once I was well, forgot that my body worked and got better. Really, we are all magic.
So on this sick day where I’m not sick, I will do my best to not focus on what needs to get done, but on the magic that is happening right now.