When my kids are sick, I get twitchy.
It’s not because I’m terribly afraid of my kids getting sick, since I feel like I’m fairly versed in the reality that germs happen, it’s nobody’s fault, there’s only so much you can do, and immunity is a process.
No, I get twitchy because if my kids are sick, I can’t write.
Have you ever had a spasm in one eyelid, where it takes on a life of its own and you’re sort of half-blinking in a half-crazed way? I feel like that happens to me when I can’t write. Add some shoulder tics and a dragging leg, and you’ve got an alarming pirate-like version of me without my routing of writing, posting, and thinking through my fingers. There is this tension that comes with writing when my children are home.
When I try to be a good writer and a good mom, I become neither a good writer nor a good mom. And that, my friends, is most disorienting. Give me just one day of doing nothing well, and I will lay down the tug of war, lest my arms be otherwise torn off in the battle.
We are on day six of illness around here. I finally got to send one child back to school today, since he was finally 24-hours fever free. When the school nurse called me at 8:45 to say he was in her office yet again, I said, “Does he have a fever? No? Okay. Here’s the deal. He’s fragile from being sick, but he’s okay. And I believe in him, and I know he can do this. If you can nurture him through this day, I will personally buy you the beverage of your choice.”
We laughed together, but I wasn’t kidding even remotely. She promised to do her darndest. Two hours later, she called me again. While one child had championed through the day, the other was in her office with – wait for it – a fever. He would need to be picked up.
I swear to you: if it’s not one thing, it’s his brother.
My beloved words, stay close.
I will draw near to you again soon.
But here’s how you will forever lose the competition for my time:
I can rewrite a bad page of drivel,
but I can’t rewrite a day of bad parenting.