One of my proudest moments of the summer came in line at an amusement park. My oldest daughter and her many cousins had waited with as much patience as they could muster for their turn on the go-karts. It was the ultimate amusement park experience and they had counted down the minutes to when they’d be behind the wheel.
When it was finally their turn, they each ran for a machine. It was a busy day, and in the musical chairs of go-kart selection, my daughter was the one left standing. There weren’t enough karts, and there wasn’t enough time to wait for another go-round. Her aunts and uncles held their breath for the breakdown that never came. She did that awkward shrug she does when she’s holding back her disappointment, and she coped.
I was reminded of that moment the other night, when my husband and I held her hair and rubbed her back as her stomach churned with a nasty flu bug, and we told her that she would miss her first day of Grade 1. You don’t get many first days of school, and while they’re tough for some (mostly us parents) they’re important. They’re the ultimate school experience, and our daughter had counted down the minutes to her first day of school all month. And now, not only was she staying home, she was sick.
I probably don’t need emphasis when I say that stomach bugs are the worst. They’re awful, especially when they happen to your kids. I was hit first, and despite our best attempts to quarantine, our oldest daughter was next. The day before she was due back to school.
I felt awful, not just because we were in complete and utter agony, but because my daughter was missing her big day. But between sips of water, saltines and a lot of laundry loads, I was reminded of three things:
One, my husband is an excellent care-taker. While I was crippled and cramping, he handled our kids and their demands like the pro that he his. He even made banana bread. Banana bread! I’m grateful for his care and will try to hold back my huffs the next time he comes down with a man cold. (I will try.)
Two, we’re going to get sick. It’s that time of year again. This bout of bellyaches was a timely reminder of the importance of washing your hands all day, every day. Anything to avoid any more nasty little bugs.
Three, our oldest girl is tough as nails. She took the news of her delayed debut in Grade 1 with grace. She battled her bug and although she arrived in her new classroom this morning one day behind, she was renewed and ready to tackle this school year. These first days of school do more than just remind me of how much she’s grown, but how well she’s grown, despite all of my missteps, my fears and my many, many shortcomings. She’s incredible, and I can’t wait to hear about her second attempt at a first day of school.
Now, waking her up at 7am each day without groans and grumbles? That’s an entirely different story…