Yesterday, Will stayed home from school with a stomach ache. Nothing major, but he’s a kid who has his share of stomach issues. Generally, those issues end with vomiting. Middle school is not a place to flirt with a vomit scenario, and so, after seeing him get a little stressed about going to school, I let him stay home.
Let's call it a “mercy sick day.”
Mondays are my days to grocery shop, get caught up on laundry and hose down the house after the weekend. We weren’t even home this weekend and the house STILL got filthy. As I had some errands to run, I offered him the chance to stay put and watch TV or come with me. Opting for the latter because he was feeling better (although I suspect it was really because he doesn’t like to be alone) we made a trip to Target and the paint store. He used his money and a Target gift card to buy a new game he wanted, and spent the afternoon holed up in the playroom (resting Mom!) with his game. I got to baby him a little, and wait on him, feel his forehead and snuggle a little. These are the things we moms love to do when our babies are sick. And to my surprise he let me.
Midway through the afternoon, I suggested we go to the batting cage and hit a few balls. This is a baseball skill that eludes him on a regular basis. He gets nervous, he doesn’t choke up enough, he overthinks it and tenses his body. I wanted him to just make consistent contact, to increase his confidence and sharpen his feel for the process (my grandfather played baseball, and he taught me everything I know about it, which isn’t much, but I know how to hit). A moment of bafflement followed by a few seconds of incredulity, and he was in.
I told him to keep it between us. The LAST thing I need is his brother and sister finding out. Some things are better left unspoken around our house.
After 220 balls pitched at various speeds, and some great hits (especially when he listened to me and choked up on the bat and relaxed) we headed home. We had a great discussion about visualization; he declared it the best sick day ever.
Here’s a kid who really celebrates life. I wish I could have so many best days ever.
Later, when his brother asked him what he did, he said “nothing” and caught my eye.
And that made me happy. Because you know what? I don’t get much one-on-one with him, because of his age, because I am a girl, because there are 2 other children and too often, 2 of them get lumped together due to age, sex or simple geography. I love it when I can make a connection, or a memory, with just one of them. I love it when I can have secrets and experiences to share collectively, but also individually.
Later, when I tucked him in, he assured me his stomach was fine, hugged me and said “thanks for today Mom. It really was the best sick day ever.”
I hope so. I think it was just what he needed.
Sick days aren’t just good for your health, you know.
Sometimes, they are just good for the soul.
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