Wednesday, February 11, 2009
To Go to School, or Not?
“You’re not lonely today, are you, Mrs. Miller?” asks the school nurse when she calls me today.
No, I’m never lonely, I think, but play along anyway, and laugh, pretending I have a sense of humour.
Lately, I have not had one. It’s been a tough winter, with kids continually out sick with something. Now hit me all at once with all of them sick and me feeling crummy. I try to tell myself it could be worse, they could be in the hospital, we could have the Black Plague, but it doesn’t work. I recognize the cognitive behavioral definition of depression while going through it myself: the cycling of negative thoughts. You know it’s going on but feel helpless to break it. Like a drowning swimmer, you need someone to throw you a lifeline. My online friends do that for me, sending me prayers right when I need it.
None of my kids went to school today. It feels like that was the right decision, when I find out the flu is going around. The kids all received the flu shot this year, but this is a different strain.
My oldest one was out for three days last week, due to a fever. She never fully recovered and now has sinus pain, the reason for her absence today. My littlest one had a fever for three days over the weekend, followed by a constantly running nose that turned into a bloody nose after all the constant wiping. Perhaps my judgment was a little off, due to lack of sleep, when I followed through on my promise to distribute snacks at the school yesterday.
The second grade teacher complained about my son’s coughing, more than hinting that perhaps he shouldn’t return to school the next day. And my fifth grader came home hacking something scary. When I told them they weren’t going to school the next day, they complained. My fifth grader had a science bee she was looking forward to. My second grader just loves school – imagine that!
My seventh grader attempted to reason with them: "If you're sick your immunity is lowered and you are less resistant to catching the stomach virus. And if you get it we all get it. And I REALLY want to see the cousins!!!" We missed seeing them over Christmas break due to a stomach virus, and are looking forward to making up the visit next week.
They continued to insist they wanted to go to school. I said they could if they didn't cough once all night. But my eldest and I secretly plotted to not set the alarms so no one could wake them up on time.
It wound up being a balmy day, and after lunch we were all out in the backyard. Jacketless, I propped myself up on two chairs and picked up on my reading of Les Miserables. They played baseball, after finding a place that was not too muddy. My littlest one hates to get dirty, but she eventually let me put her down on the soggy ground in snow boots.
From our time in the sun, I had a good dose of natural melatonin to boost my mood. The kids can go back to school tomorrow; I’ll cross my fingers so they don’t pick up something else. I finally break my cycle of negative thoughts by repeating to myself, “I’m never alone, never alone, never alone, never alone.”