I try to be a grateful person, to see the good in less-than-ideal situations. Last week, I wrote about our suspicions that our son had strep throat. When he woke up the morning after I had written that, feeling worse, coughing and hurting more, the next logical thing to do was schedule an appointment with his pediatrician before the weekend. In trying desperately to stop the spread of germs across the whole family, my parents were able and willing to stay home with our toddler so I could take our boy to the doctor. Of course, this brought on a heavy case of the “go with you” chorus from the little one. I explained to her over and over that we just were trying to keep her healthy and that playing at home with Grandma and Grandpa would be far more enjoyable than sitting in the car, the waiting room, and then the exam room, with her sick brother. That was little consolation to her, but it turned out just like when my husband and I went out for our anniversary–she cried vigorously for a few minutes, and then she was all right.
Back to our trip to the pediatrician. Although he was feeling pretty rotten, my sweet boy and I got to talk about all sorts of things as we got stuck in traffic and as we waited (and waited some more) for the doctor to come into the exam room. We discussed silly things, and I quickly realized that I couldn’t make things too silly, or he would get stuck in a fit of coughing. We discussed serious things like politics, since the president happened to be visiting our city that very day. Who knew a feverish, congested child would want to talk about international conflict? A parent really does need to be ready for anything when it comes to questions and conversations.
In addition to talking, I soaked up some more wonderful snuggles. As we waited in the exam room, he was fading. Merely being out of the house and away from his cozy nest on the upstairs futon was wearing him out. We were sitting next to each other in some pretty basic plastic chairs, and then he just zipped up his jacket, pulled up his hood, and laid his head down on my lap.
As he rested, as we waited, I felt so thankful for this time with just him. As rare as it is for my husband and I to go out alone together, it is nearly as rare (maybe even more?) for my son and I to go anywhere together alone. It made me sad to realize that it had been such a long time since we had gone on a “mommy-son” date. I even told him that as much as I wished he wasn’t sick, that I was glad we were together, just us. I hope he knows, and I hope I tell him often enough how much I love being with him.
Strep throat? Yes, he tested positive. It knocks him off his feet every time he gets it. The cough lingers, his strength falters, he eats only soft and cold foods for a few days in a row. There is not much to like about strep throat, except the reminders my son and I get of how good it is to be close to a loved one, and to make time to spend just with each other. Now that he’s feeling better, I think I need to plan a date with that amazing little boy, and talk about everything from dinosaurs to the economy, and of course make sure we have a few good snuggles.