When we're kids, we express our thanks in many ways beyond the traditional words..."thank you." When we're adults, we do the same, except we often first start with the verbal expression, especially as it becomes somewhat second nature, just like we answer "I'm fine" automatically when prompted with a "How are you?" At least I do. Rightly so, I find myself more often internalizing the reasoning for many of our rote "thank you"s that I've expressed before. Now, I get it.
Our older daughter has the flu. I almost sent her on to school yesterday but remembered that it's just Kindergarten, and if she was someone else's daughter and that parent sent her to school to cough all day beside my child, I'd be a little irritated at that parent's lack of thought. So she stayed home, and that was the right choice as she progressively wore down throughout the morning and just bottomed out in the early afternoon. But I think we caught it early enough to miss the worst of it; now both girls are on flu suppressants, and today was a step back toward normal.
But that's not my story here. This all has capped the boy's first crazy-busy week that always happens when a new track season starts. For what it's worth, the bulk of the nursing has been at my hands, and I keep thinking about the "back when" moments. Back when I was a kid, I remember my mom taking care of me when my throat was on fire. Back when I was a kid, I remember gargling with salt water and sucking on a Sucretes. Back when I was a kid, I remember that my Mom took the day off of work to stay home with me, and we watched TV in the afternoon. Back when I was a kid, I remember crying the angry sick tears of yuck and frustration.
However, back when was not really the right time for me to say "thank you" to my mom for all that she dealt with when I'm sure I was a whiny little bugger. I hope that I did say "thanks" when she brought me some Sprite or another blanket. I hope that I gave her a hug when I was feeling better or snuggled with her to let her know that I needed her right at that very moment. But I think that now might be a better time to truly say "thank you" for taking care of me all of those times, leaving me with memories that guide my current understanding of what to do when your kid feels gross, and generally just dealing with the weariness that comes from tending to the sick among us when the rest of our day doesn't stop because of it.
And to my friend who unexpectedly called me with a bit of information to pass along, thank you as well. You asked how we were, and I forgot for a quick second about feeling the weary frustration of having a child who feels justifiably rotten and my 3-day bout of cabin fever. We really aren't all as "fine" as my glib answer implied. But the truth in that response is best saved for another day as well.