If It’s Not One Thing, It’s His Brother.

Coffee cup and two colorful gerbega flowers on wooden table

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.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. A parent who actually follows the 24 hour rule!!! I love you!!! I worked at a school front desk for a while and my days during sick season usually went something like this: Sick child comes wandering up to my desk. I take their temperature. Yup, fever. Call parent. Parent incredulously declares “But I gave them Tylenol this morning!!!”. Facepalm my forehead. Explain that they do have a fever and school policy is that if a fever registers at 100 or more the child needs to be picked up immediately. Parent says “Are you sure? Really? Let me talk to him/her.” I had phone to child who proceeds to rest his/her mouth directly on the mouthpiece of my phone, which is why I keep Clorox wipes on my desk. Child hands phone back to me. Parent asks “Are you sure he/she can’t stay? What am I supposed to do with him/her? Can’t he/she just lay down in the nurse’s office?” Facepalm again. NO. Please come and pick up YOUR child immediately. Then, when parent finally arrives, smile professionally in the face of eyerolls and dramatic sighs and the occasional swear word.

    Whew. All that to say, you’re an awesome mom. 🙂

  2. You get an award for actually following the 24 hour rule. From this school nurse: thank you and please do get her that beverage. Sorry about the other brother. 🙁

  3. Whoops. Make that Like. (sorry)

  4. I’m hitting “lLke” on this one, in spite of the fact that this is not Face Book.

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