So, dear reader, as the school year begins, so does the battle with germs. The Bean is on absence number three of a very young school year. She missed two days last week for a migraine, probably triggered by stress and heat. The Bean experiences migraines more frequently during the school year than during the summer. In summer, it is rare for her to experience a headache, let alone a migraine. My girl takes school very seriously and stresses a lot about her school performance. Although I am proud of her for her strong work ethic, commitment to succeed, and good grades, I wish she would lighten up a bit and realize not every assignment is a life-changing opportunity. It's the curse of being an overachiever, overthinker, and stress internalizer. Sigh...
Today, she is home with a severe head cold. She is running a low-grade fever and has turned into a mouth breather, her description, not mine. According to The Bean, everyone at school is stuffy and "blowing snot." Two school-age girls help us for a few hours during the week. While one little ray of sunshine declared she must be suffering from allergies, we knew she was sick. This little ray of sunshine never misses school because of illness, but these "allergies" led to two days of absence. My bib overall-wearing buddy, who does not get sick often and acts like a giant baby when faced with a head cold, was down and out for a few days. All the while lamenting over the germ-spreading abilities of children and their lack of personal space, hygiene, and general "grossness." Although he claimed he was dying from the head cold, the reality was that he was more likely to die from blunt force trauma to the head inflicted by me than the cold virus. My husband is a darling 98% of the time. However, he becomes a monster when he decides to cut back on nicotine or has a minor illness. This is the only time I can see myself divorced and living alone in a castle in England with a flock of ravens, a cat, Buster, a giant tea kettle, and no connection to the outside world.
I know it is a matter of time until illness befalls me. The Bean likes to be cuddled when she doesn't feel well. Cuddling means I must breathe her contaminated air...which grosses me out. I picture germs spewing from her nose and mouth when she speaks or breathes. However, I will never refuse a cuddle with my favorite kid. I will wait on her hand and foot. Which requires me to touch everything she touches. Although I try to disinfect as we move through the day, I will inevitably scratch my eye, wipe my nose, or touch my face after touching something she has infected. Sharing germs is not the same as sharing love. Sharing germs is the consequence of motherhood, unconditional love, and devotion. Sigh, she is like loving a Petri dish.
And so, dear reader, we wait, and we battle. I walk around disinfecting everything with Clorox wipes and disinfecting spray. I compulsively wash my hands and force my child to take vitamins, vitamin C, and zinc. Now that The Bean is a teenager, she refers to me as "that woman" when annoyed with me. It goes a little something like, "That woman and her vitamins and supplements!" or "That woman is going to kill me with Clorox wipes!" or "You know what, that woman said she's going to take my phone if I don't put dirty tissues in the garbage! Can you believe that woman?" Sigh, "that woman" will make you miserable if she gets sick from your little germ-fest. I'm going to demand tea, total control of the television, and soup, lots of soup.
If your children are grown, and you remain alive to talk about it, good for you! You, my friend, have battled death and lived to tell about it. If you do have school-age children, may the odds be ever in your favor. You, my friend, are in for a perilous 180 days. If you don't have children, you, dear friend, have strong survival skills and will live long and prosperously. Seriously, every flu season, dogs, ravens, and cats seem more and more appealing. Guess what? Dogs, ravens, and cats will never refer to you as "that woman." On this lovely September day, stay safe, be smart, and for the love of all that is holy, wash your hands!