Wait, dammit, no. I meant day two of my freedom! To some it might seem like captivity in that I haven’t left the house since Sunday afternoon, but remember, this is all by choice. Also it’s cold and windy out there, and, according to the Weather Panic People on TV, a storm is on its way to my part of the world, so best to stay put if you can. At least that’s what they are saying. So far there is nothing but cloud cover, although if the scary weather network music is any indication, we are practically doomed. As always, I will believe it when I have to shovel it.
So. You might be wondering “is it weird, being home and with no actual job to go to for the foreseeable future?” and it kind of is. So far this week seems as though I have just a couple of days off, you know, an extended weekend kind of thing. So it’s weird, but it’s kind of not weird at the same time. I have set up a little “office” at our kitchen table (which I have to dismantle before supper, so this might not be the optimal space for me, but it’s ok for now) and I have been digging into a few things, making some project plans, and generally just enjoying my makeup-free existence.
And I’m not alone. Much. My husband works from home at least 3 days each week, and our eldest son is around too. It’s only the 15-y/0 that actually has to leave the house on a regular basis for school, and so far he doesn’t appear too bitter about this situation.
The 18-y/o is part way through his gap year, and is in the process of auditioning for universities, taking music and theory lessons to help with these auditions, and looking for part-time work. Beginning in September, when school started, we have been ensuring that he is up at a regular “school day” time each morning, so he has the same routine as the rest of the family. He has been mostly fine with that. I say mostly because when you don’t actually have anything to be up for in the morning, and you’re 18, it’s hard NOT to stay up ultra late with Netflix or the PS3, right? But he’s been pretty good about it.
This morning I went into the boys’ room with the usual thinly-veiled threats about getting their arses out of bed, and while the youngest only needed to be told once, the older one could not be budged. Finally after an hour of speaking sternly go him and occasionally poking him in the ribs, he made his way downstairs.
As soon as I saw him I said “Are you ok? You’re awfully pale.” He said he thought he was ok, but that all night he alternated between being way too warm, and freezing cold. I took his temperature, and sure enough, high fever.
I sent him back to bed. He went willingly, and slept for another four hours. Aaaaand don’t I feel like a terrible mother now, demanding he get himself up and organized for the day. Poor kid.
It’s funny because when kids are little and they have fevers, you’re like “of course.” Because that’s what happens to little kids. Fevers and ear infections, colds and flu, strep throat and chicken pox. It’s par for the course, it’s having to cancel all your plans because you have a sick kid. You get used to it. Schools and daycare centres are petri dishes of germs and viruses, and a lot of kids get a lot of those common ailments in that kind of environment.
But when your kid is 18, and generally as healthy as a horse, you kind of forget that he is still susceptible to these same viruses and ailments. The difference now is that he can’t crawl onto my lap to be comforted, the Advil comes in pills instead of grape-flavoured liquid, and I have to ask him to sit down so I can reach his ear with the thermometer to take his temperature. I am not even kidding about that last part.
Before he went upstairs for a nap he said “Good thing you were home today to look after me.” And I agreed, it was a good thing. Then he said “What if you weren’t home? What would I have done?” And I said that he would have probably done the same kinds of things; Advil, sleep, tea. When you’re alone and you’re sick, you just kind of cope. He said “That doesn’t sound good at all.” I told him “That’s being an adult though. That’s what that is.” He looked unimpressed. Then he hugged me, and went to lie down. I checked on him periodically while he was sleeping, and it almost felt like he was little again, like I had merely taken a vacation day from work to look after him. The only thing missing from the scenario was his blankie.