You learn a lot about your family when you aren’t well enough to take care of them, like just how willing they are to take care of you. After three weeks recovering from kidney stones, I learned some valuable lessons; for instance, it may be time to update my will. Also, while laughter is the best medicine, love is the best healer.
I assumed my two teenaged children would rise to the occasion, because goodness knows, I am a softie when they need sick days. Ah teenagers, they only come out of their room to eat, use the bathroom, drop off laundry or ask for something that usually elicits the response, “No,” which they anticipate, but ask anyway.
My daughter, the senior of the pair, was quick to help me so long as the job was easy and she could get back to Netflix. She would check on me frequently, deliver tea and ask if she should wash the dishes (like it was an option). She learned quickly that if I needed the bathroom, I had the authority to evict anyone immediately, whether they were doing their hair or not. The alternative was not pretty. Also, she set up the equipment for me to watch Netflix, because that is too complicated for me. She was sweet, even when I was grumpy.
My son was less likely to check on me, because, you know, video games. Besides, he knew his sister would do it. Frustrated, I told him that if he were in charge, I could be dead in my room for days before he’d look for me, and by then the cats would have eaten my corpse. He was okay with that. He figured the cats would be too. Less clean up, he said. The boy made me laugh, which made me hurt, so then he made my lunch for a few days. He also got the mail. And responded to text messages (because that’s how we talk when we’re in the same house). He kept my spirits up. He kept his needs low. Perfect.
My darling Carpenter deserves a medal for patience, but he too had his limits. There are some things he saw that cannot be unseen. Blame the Percocet, but I thought I created a very entertaining commercial for bladder leakage protection products, casting a sexy silhouette in my fluffy bathrobe. That will surely be burned in his memory forevermore. In sickness and health, baby. A promise is a promise.
His mistake was thinking he could tuck me into bed and leave me there (wonder where our son gets it). But I knew he was upstairs flirting with his mistress (the iPad), consumed by her virtual golf games, goofy videos and sports scores. He had all the time in the world to fawn over Ms. flat screen while I laid low, bemused by pain pills and cable television two floors away. I was down but not out. Imagine his surprise when the home phone began to ring and the caller ID was my mobile number. That’s right, I called him from our bed to put in an order for lunch and a beverage. What else could I do? A girl’s gotta eat and I was parched.
Finally, we are indebted to my parents for keeping the family cog in motion. From emergency runs to carpooling the kids, to shopping, errands and more, they were there when we needed them, and oh boy, we needed them.
Laughter and love. Grateful.