Sunday morning I woke up in a tight fetal position, quaking with chills. I thought maybe someone had stolen my blankets or turned on the fan. I opened my eyes and realized with a jolt that I had a terrible headache. I'm not a headache person, so when they happen, it kind of kicks my hiney. I slowly tried to uncurl my shivering body and every joint in my skeleton moaned. This is what old people are feeling when they whine about their "aching bones," I thought. As soon as my bare feet touched the icy sheets at the unoccupied end of the bed, they involuntarily jerked back up into fetal position. "Ohhhhhh," I groaned aloud.
"What's the matter, honey?"
He reached over and touched my head, "You're burning up."
"No, I'm not, I'm freezing!"
And this, dear readers, is why I am convinced that the natural place for a woman is beside a man. He curled up next to me and wrapped his hot limbs around my cold ones. I was still cold, but at least I didn't feel like I was on a wind swept mountainside without a sleeping bag. Plus, I was comforted.
After a while, the children came down to see why no one was making them breakfast. "Mom's sick," my personal heater explained. Each child gently stroked my face or kissed my cheek as they worried about me and showed compassion. A few minutes later, one came down with this: It was to be my regular snack. There was also some half-buttered toast and cold water in a syringe that I was to take every time a small fist jammed it into my mouth.
The children took pride in their job to nurse me back to health. One ran me a bubble bath then sat on the edge of the tub and scrubbed my feet. One brought me blankets and socks. Another brushed my hair. Two of them rubbed my feet--yes rubbed, it was no massage--with a generous dose of lotion. My husband, capable of massage, rubbed my head and face to help relieve the pain there. They tried to keep it quiet by hollering through the house, "Be quiet!! Mom is sick!"
By Tuesday, I was feeling much, much better. Such is the life of a mother. We love tepid hot cocoa, dandelion bouquets and another crayon colored rainbow. I'll take their compassion even if it falls short of actually helping.
And a lot of Tylenol.