Yesterday I woke up sick. No fever. It was easier to drag myself out of bed and go to work than to deal with getting lesson plans in order and finding a substitute. My students were great but it was a long day. It was one of those days where all I wanted was to be at home in bed.
I couldn’t leave right after school because five days a week I tutor a Korean student. He wanted to read Henry And Mudge Get The Cold Shivers. Seemed rather appropriate. I could relate. In the book Henry loves his sick days because his mother brings him popsicles, comic books and crackers. Henry and I have a lot in common.
I got hit with good dose of nostalgia! If I had to be sick, I wanted a sick day with my mother.
My mother made sick days special and believe me, there were a lot of them in my childhood! Other than the sick part ( just a minor detail of my story), sick days are some of my fondest childhood memories.
My brother and I shared the upstairs of our house. He would hear me yelling, “Mommy, I don’t feel good”, get up, go downstairs and announced, “She’s sick again.” My mother would come upstairs carrying the thermometer and if I had a high fever both the thermometer and I would be carried back downstairs. Because I was too sick to go anywhere, I would be settled into my parents big bed to wait for the doctor to make his house call.
After the doctor left I would take a nap and by the time I woke up my father would be home for lunch. Since he was home to watch me, my mother could leave to go pick up ……drum roll, please…..sick day supplies! The anticipation of waiting for her to come home was almost unbearable. Finally, I would hear the car pull into the driveway. I knew there would be cherry popsicles, paper dolls, coloring books, some sort of cheap, little grocery store toy and of course Campbell’s Chicken Soup!
Usually after a dose of medicine and some Vicks Vapor Rub I would be feeling better by early afternoon, at which point I would be moved to the divan in the living room. Propped up by pillows I would sit and watch the one and only channel we received on TV, color, play with the paper dolls, eat my lunch and eventually, like all small children, I would become bored. This is when my mother would perform her “sick day magic”.
The first thing she would do was go upstairs to get one of my dolls. Then she got two of my grandmother’s painted china tea cups and fixed us some tea. She’d pull up a chair and we would have a tea party. After the tea party she would get her sewing box, fabric, and paper and sit beside me all afternoon designing and handsewing clothes for whatever doll was chosen. Little tiny stitches for little clothes. She had the patience to sit there, talk to me and sew these incredible doll clothes! If I was sick for a day or a week, she would be there by the divan every afternoon and I would watch her. I can still see her sitting there. I still have the doll clothes and I am amazed at her skill.
As I got older, coloring books and paper dolls became magazines, popsicles became ice cream, doll clothes became clothes for me but the soup remained the same and my mother still sat with me in the afternoons. I hope she knew how much I appreciated her!