One important lesson that I learned from my mother is how taking care of sick kids is an art – I put those talents to the test last week.
"My head hurts really bad Mommy," said my seven-year-old. That's how it started, last Sunday night.
Monday morning, I used the Winnie-the-Pooh thermometer to determine that her temperature was 105 degrees. I threw a sweatshirt over her pajamas and rushed her to the doctor's office with her three-year-old sister in tow.
The verdict – influenza B. I'm not sure what the letter stands for, as if maybe B is a lesser strain that A. But it was pretty ugly no matter what they call it.
Thus began a week of making a "nest" on the couch for her and my three-year-old who was sick as well (not with the flu, but close enough for me to be concerned). I measured small doses of medicine all day long. Refreshed juice cups, re-filled humidifiers, wiped noses, took temperatures and most importantly served as the entertainment director.
In between catnaps they watched an assortment of DVDs. I think we watched The Parent Trap and Hannah Montana at least a dozen times. I also spent countless hours checking to make sure my oldest daughter was still breathing when she slept.
In short, I was the perfect Florence Nightingale – at least I hoped I was. But it wasn't until I got sick that I realized all my hard work had paid off.
This week as I was cocooned in my covers in my dark room reeling with a stomach flu, I suddenly felt a hand gently stroking my arm. Then I felt another one stroking my forehead.
"Mommy," my three-year-old whispered. "We brought you some water."
I could just barely see their little outlines in the dark standing next my bed. At first I thought I must be hallucinating. I had never seen my children so quiet or so gentle. Surely it must be the fever or the medicine. But they continued to rub my arm and forehead and talk in hushed tones.
"Is there anything we can do for you, Mommy?" my seven-year-old asked.
"You've already done it, sweetie," I said cracking my first and only smile of the day, "You've already done it."