There are many things that no one tells you about being a parent. It’s not that they are keeping secrets or candy coating the experience. It is simply that there are some things you cannot tell in a way that will make them understood. Some things need to be lived to be understood. Parenting is very much one of those things. We have five children. After each one was born and I was home that first night with our new baby there was a moment when I woke up in the middle of the night to feed the child and felt a bone-deep exhaustion I hadn’t felt since the last child was an infant. I could go on and on describing the feeling but unless you had that same sort of night you won’t really know what I mean. Letting new parents figure this out on their own is not cruel. There really is no other way to know it and that right there pretty much sums up parenting.
One of the many things you find out the hard way is dealing with illness. Try to take care of small children with a stomach virus while you yourself are afflicted and you’ll know what I mean. Thankfully those kind of bugs only last a day or two. Having a few friends and neighbors whose children have disabilities or serious, chronic illnesses keeps the whole stomach virus thing in perspective. So, when Joyful January turned into Germy January I tried to roll with it. I kept the phrase “This too shall pass” in the back of my mind and powered on.
It started when the littlest one came down with what we thought was a cold. She just turned thirteen so it’s not like caring for a frightened toddler. I didn’t give it much thought until the third morning when she wasn’t any better. She was, in fact, worse. I took her to the doctor thinking it might have been strep. He thought it was mono. It wasn’t mono. It wasn’t a cold. It wasn’t the flu. After a whole battery of blood tests we have no idea what it was. All we know is that it was/is a virus and it’s contagious. I like our pediatrician quite a bit. One of the reasons is because when he doesn’t know what the problem is he actually owns that. He is one of the few doctors I ever heard say “I don’t know what this is.” It is actually much more satisfying to hear than some made up diagnosis that means the same thing like ‘non-specific dermatitis’ which is doctor-speak for “I don’t know what caused this rash.”
Joyful January became Germy January and deteriorated into Jammies January which was the point when we gave up pretending and spent our days in our jammies. This past weekend was the first time since Christmas that I actually felt like myself. It was the first time in a month that I had a decent night’s sleep. I haven’t sneezed in a few days. Nothing is runny or swollen or achey. I managed to function at about half power for the last month or so. I didn’t feel well but didn’t really feel sick most of the time. I was sharing this feeling with three teenage girls. (Somehow my husband managed not to catch this. I think he should be studied.) None of us were very productive. The youngest one seems to have had it the worst and missed two weeks of school. The rest of us just went about our days as if we were sleep deprived and on the edge of a cold which is pretty much how it felt. According to the doctor this bug is going around. It isn’t killing anyone, just annoying the hell out of them so it may never get a name. If you catch it then you will know what I mean.
As for Joyful January, I still have all my notes but I’m not sure how I’m going to follow through. It’s obvious that I need a better blogging routine. I will be picking up where I left off with my card of the day on Facebook using the Joie de Vivre Tarot as I intended for the month of January.
Now, I’m going to go clean my house because I haven’t really done that for a month and a half and I just can’t stand it anymore.