My daughter was sick for the first time today.
Actually, let me clarify: at nearly 18 months this was not technically the first time she was sick. There have been coughs, an ear infection, dreaded coxsackie. But this was her first stomach . . . Thing. And this was the first time I couldn’t stay with her.
I’ve never had any delusions that I wanted to be a stay at home mother. I admire women who are (and men who stay at home for that matter!), but that’s not who I am. I loved my position as a classroom teacher and when my maternity leave was over (long by American standards, short by standards of the world but that’s another story for another day), I happily went back to the classroom, knowing my daughter was in good hands with my in laws.
Now I’m out of the classroom and while I’m learning to love my job I’m not at the same level of adoration I was before the position change. Meanwhile, as my daughter gets older and smarter and sassier and funnier I love her more and more. So when she was sick this morning, once in my arms, I assured my mother in law, who comes mercifully to our house to watch her while my husband and I shape other people’s children, that I could take off. I had a packed day of meetings and observations and planning, but I could rearrange things for my girl.
She smiled at me, kindly. She told me that there would be times my girl would be sick and need her mommy. That this was not one of them. That she’d be fine. That I’d be fine. That she’d give me constant updates as the day progressed.
And she was fine. In some of the pictures my mother in law shared, she doesn’t even look sick. She looks like a girl who’s watching Elmo, glad to get to stay in her pajamas all day.
This won’t be the last time she’s sick. It won’t be the last time she’s sick and I can’t stay with her. But it was the first time, and so I think it was the hardest.
This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge held at Two Writing Teachers. You can learn more about the challenge here.