Sandor, who is 8, has the flu, the real live, 103 fever, wet cough, body ache and runny nose flu. Last night he crawled in bed with us and fell back to sleep. I woke up an hour later because something smelled kind of rank and funny (not funny in a good way). Sandor’s face was less than three inches from mine. I was cloaked in his nasal congestion, snotty, coughing, feverish breath. And I didn’t care at all.
It’s weird, when I child is sick most mothers become very primitive, almost animalistic. Technology falls away because cell phones, texts and I-Phone apps are useless when your child is sick. When I’m holding my miserable child and I hear the phone knocking, informing me I have a text, I don’t even budge. It means nothing.
Mothers become base creatures operating on instinct when we have a sick child. We worry about their temperature, covering them with our own bodies if necessary, much like a bear or wolf covers their cub. We encourage them to drink, even if it’s just a sip, we constantly touch them testing for any change. And we are able to read their eyes and smell for signs of greater illness or a return to health.
When our children are sick, we surround them, we let our vulnerable and mortal bodies be showered in their germs and viruses. And generally we really don’t want anyone else interfering because we know what they need. Our soul tells us. So we create bear caves or wolf dens, we stay half awake all night, ready to react or defend them, hoping they will rest.
Sickness and grief seem to be the only two places personally technology has not invaded. There’s nothing a 4G phone or wirelss internet can do when my child needs me to hold them for as long as it takes.