I awake this morning to my son calling me from his bed, “Mom, I don’t feel good.”
He’d gone to bed too late and, so, the morning’s awakening is difficult.
Do I get out of bed and run to touch his forehead while wondering where is that thermometer?
Do I play 99 questions for a champion beginning with: Where does it hurt?
No, my reaction is highly un-mom-like:
“Take your-not-feeling-well self into the kitchen and do the dishes you forgot to do last night!”
Well, though it matters not to me whether this shocks or not, let me clue you in. We’re dealing with a pre-ado, Omega son. I’ve been here before and can sniff out an “Oh, no, I forgot to do my homework!” or an “Oh, I’ve-got-gym-this-morning-and-don’t-wanna-go.” illness in less than a nanosecond.
On top of that, when I was younger, and I think before I even had children, I read a story that marked me. It was the recital of how a child remembered what it was like being sick when she was growing up with four or five siblings. She recounted that in her home, being sick was not something that drew attention from her mother.
She’d often witnessed at a friend’s home how doting the friend’s mother became anytime her friend was ill…putting the child to bed, bringing her home-made chicken noodle soup, moving the TV into the child’s room–basically being entirely subservient to the kid.
So, she decided she wanted some of this special treatment. One sunny, Saturday morning, she pretended to be ill. Instead of getting up and bounding down the stairs as usual, she remained in bed, howling.
Her mother, busily preparing breakfast downstairs, didn’t seem to hear her howls.
She began claiming her mother. Fifteen minutes or so passed. Finally she got up and went down to the kitchen. She found her family eating breakfast in animated conversation, that did not stop when she appeared.
“Mom, didn’t you hear me? I’m sick, I don’t feel well.”
“Ok, honey, you just turn round then and go back to bed.”
Completely dumbfounded, she stood unmoving.
“Honey, if you’re feeling so poorly that you can only howl, then you march right up those stairs and get back into bed. ”
“When you feel better, maybe you’ll feel like coming back down for breakfast. Go on now. Your brother’s telling us the most amusing story–”
That was not the reaction she expected and on top of it, the wafting smell of pancakes made her realize how hungry she was. But she felt trapped by her lie of being ill.
She laughs when she recounts that her mother knew all along that she’d been pretending. A good twenty minutes later, her mother came to tell her this:
“Honey, being ill’s easy. Lying…(and she meant telling lies here)… in bed’s uninteresting. Facing things we don’t want to face and dealing with them or doing things we don’t feel like doing, now that, that makes us interesting. Your brother was telling us about the classroom bully and how he’d dealt with him. I think you might have learned a thing or two from hearing what he said.
“Now, taking medicine when one’s not ill is not a good thing to do. Sometimes it’s better medicine to swallow one’s pride and get on with life.”
As she was leaving the room, she added:
“Oh, and if by chance you’re feeling better in the next five to ten minutes, I’ve still time to make more blueberry pancakes.”
She ended her tale by recounting that, of course, she did not take the aspirin. And after that, interestingly enough, she doesn’t recall often being ill.
Without realizing it , I think I stocked this story in my memory for future use, probably under Mothering 101. A lot of my friends, who are also moms, marvel at how I treat my sons.
When I look at how their kids behave, and then consider how my own behave, I think I’ve done all right by them in the mothering department. I also am very glad my sons have learned to deal with their health-related issues using holistic methods. Especially today, when there’s a lot of talk going on about illnesses and even deaths provoked by commonly used allopathic medicines.
Oh, and by the way, I KNOW when my son’s REALLY ill, and usually before he does! I’ve got unfailing radar, tried and tested on and with my Alpha son who’s survived my mothering methods to become an over six-foot tall, healthy, balanced young man.
And as for my Omega son? No need for worry. He did catch this morning’s school bus on time.
He’ll be just fine, thank you very much ;-D