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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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Summer 2017: Down but Not Out

I am squarely blaming the ants. Combating their shenanigans had weakened my reserves and left me susceptible to a bug of another kind.

Mom was down for the count.

One minute I was driving in my car and totally fine and the next, I wanted my mommy and a mountain of blankets. You know how sometimes it happens that fast?

It happened that fast.

Unfortunately, my schedule was not conducive to a recovery stint on the couch. There were drop-offs and pick-ups looming, so I penciled in a whole lot of sucking it up to the agenda.

Blessedly by 3 pm, I made it to the couch for good. I caught a break when my eldest was able to swing by and get his brother on his way home from work. I didn’t even have to try to sound pathetic when I asked, I was already there.

With three boys, I live in fear of being sick. I want to be pampered and have someone watch Hallmark movies with me in between naps. Yeah, not so much.

Everyone just stared at me like I was a needy alien who landed on their couch. I thought about going upstairs to bed, but I knew from experience that with three teenagers it is best to have a visual at all times.

When I was lucid, I heard the word “dinner” tossed around several times but no one moved. My husband had arrived and seemed perturbed at this turn of events. He knows if I am horizontal when he gets home, I am either pregnant or in dire straits. At that point he probably would’ve preferred me with child because it is not—as far as we know, anyway—contagious.

I moaned a little for effect and nothing.

I announced my temperature as a respectable 101.2 and still nothing.

The final dagger? Even the dog looked unfazed.

I couldn’t keep anything down but small sips of water and my fever kept climbing but ESPN was more riveting than the medical drama playing out in my family room. The boys just wrestled like any other night, messed with the dog endlessly and shouted at one another.

Had they always been this loud? Why is everyone so loud?

Surprisingly, as my time on the couch increased, people began to take notice. My eldest went up to get my pillow from my bed. My middle son brought me a cold bottle of water and my youngest actually read his book—the greatest gift in that moment for sure.

And the dog finally snuggled against me, as he should. I reveled in the attention I so richly deserved.

But it was short lived. As I dozed on and off for the rest of the evening, the boys went to a friend’s house, the dog got walked and my husband cooked dinner.

In essence, everyone survived.

Sadly, even the fever could not disguise the fact that the place looked like we needed a hoarding intervention. But if we are being honest, it sort of looked like that before I was stricken. The return to college and football two-a-days had taken a toll on every room in my house. There were either clothes airing out, packages or duffel bags ready for departure on nearly every surface.

It was way easier to just shut my eyes on the way to the bathroom at least for the time being. I managed to unearth the remote while shuffling to and fro, so at least I was free of listening to the same five stories over and over on Sports Center.

I was feeling very neglected when the boys rolled in about 10:30 pm. My husband had checked on me one last time before going to bed earlier. When he said get rest, he meant it. He wanted his comrade back because being alone in the trenches is scary.

The boys kicked off shoes, got snacks and ignored the lump on the couch formerly known as their mother. I had raised a bunch of heathens. They trudged upstairs and left me feeling very sorry for myself. Sniff.

Then, my middle son paused on the stairs and returned to get his charger which was plugged into the wall behind my sick bed. As he bent down to retrieve it, he leaned in and kissed my forehead. Just like I did when the kids were sick.

“You feel better mom, ok? We don’t like you on the couch.”

And that’s when I realized they weren’t being unsympathetic; they were just out of their element. So, when I was at my most susceptible they reverted to what I had taught them.

They had acted on the basic principle that if someone is down, you take a moment and be kind. After all, unbeknownst to you, it just might help bolster their reserves.

It certainly did for me.

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Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.

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