The mom can’t get sick. Even my sons’ pediatrician told me that once when I brought the boys in for what seemed to be the never-ending case of a raging stomach flu. In the end, her prescription was for ME.
“But I’m not sick,” I said.
“Yeah, but if you do you get sick just put these things on your tongue and they dissolve, keeping you from throwing up. You know, because the mom can’t get sick.”
This can be a heavy burden for us. Most days, we mothers thrive, though, knowing that we are at pretty much the top of the parental food chain. We like being the ones whose name gets called when someone gets a skinned knee. We relish the sweet snuggles we get when our babies are under the weather. But, let’s face it, sometimes WE just need our mommies, too.
Actually, I noticed this before I even had kids. There’s something to that Munchausen Syndrome where people pretend to be sick just to get attention. Of course, no one wants to have a serious illness but, hey, every once in a while it’s nice to “take sick” and lie in bed all day … not that we really ever get to do that.
After eight months of lugging around the bowling ball that was my first son in my belly, my husband and I were doing the hospital tour at Cedars Sinai in LA. He noticed a gleam in my eye as the tour guide told us about how well the nurses take care of the patients at the hospital. He saw me eyeing up the bed … the pillows … even smiling at the pretty amazing view most of these rooms had.
As we were leaving, he said to me, “You’re … you’re … you look like you’re actually excited for this.”
And the truth is, I was … not that whole birthing a baby out my nether region thing. I was terrified as hell over that, as we all are. But the idea of someone fluffing my pillows, bringing me smoothies, and generally watching over me sounded kind of nice. Really nice.
I noticed this concept again last week when we went to my parents’ house to stay for a couple of nights. We had a pipe burst under our house and had major damage and no hot water, and needed to escape for the weekend. I walked into their house and became five years old again. I laid on the couch, pulled a huge, furry blanket over me, and waited to be served by my mother. It was pathetic. And yet I was so tired. Like bone weary freaking exhausted. It was like I crossed the threshold into her territory and knew I would be taken care of, so I let my defenses down. And was just plain pooped. She fed me. She covered me. She cleaned up around me. And I was safe and happy and little again. And it was nice.
Sometimes, we all need a sick day.