Sunday, November 9, 2014

On being at home










When there is illness in the house, it feels like time stops. You stay home, you don't do the normal chores or pastimes, you don't see anyone. It doesn't matter if it's me who gets sick or one of my children, sick time feels about the same. The Bear was away all week and I was alone with the kids, which can be trying even when everyone feels good. He's back now, though the illness continues; the GB is lying on the couch with a book about cowboys and her spill-proof water bottle. I used to really dread their illnesses; it usually meant a week of isolation, which could stretch to two or three weeks if they didn't get sick together. These days, they're more robust and it isn't so scary anymore, and it's over more quickly too. There's still that feeling when they're sick, though; you know the one. The hours creep by. The house is quieter. They revert to napping. You shuffle around, trying not to disturb them.

This week, I read books aloud and I put together hundred-piece jigsaw puzzles featuring baby animals. There were movies (including an animated film based on The Boxcar Children series of books, currently streaming on Netflix; it was really good! Martin Sheen provides the grandfather's voice). I find it hard to slow down; it feels wrong to sit indoors all day, especially when it's finally cool and crisp outside - my perfect weather. But I can watch the light change through the day - the sun making its slow progression across the front of our house, surmounting the roof by mid-afternoon, casting long shadows across the backyard. I filled the crockpot, I made cup after cup of tea, I crocheted. I made notes for my Thanksgiving menu. I walked through the house with my camera, documenting my time indoors. I quietly slipped out the breakfast-nook door to wander in the backyard; the mums are almost gone but the nandina is neon-bright. Inside, the fever was spiking again, as it always does in late afternoon. Fever mode: grab the thermometer, pour the liquid Tylenol. Set one fewer place at the table. Prepare for a long night.

I feel thankful to deal with it, in a way. Even at the lowest moments, when cleaning up from a night of sickness, or sitting in a steamy bathroom to help a little one breathe, I am glad to be able to care for them. I don't mean I enjoy it; certainly not. But I can: my home is safe and warm, we can afford medicine or a visit to the doctor, we have all the blankets and tea and soft, mushy food any sick person could need. I can stay home for as long as it takes and care for them myself. I hate to see them so miserable. I hate the worry and fear when someone is ill. I hate to be sick myself, and I hold my breath for a week after their illnesses, praying I'm not next. But it's times like these when I feel particularly proud of the home I've created for them. They can be comfortable here, in their own place.

Isn't it such a relief when they feel better? And you know it's happening when they become crankier and less pliant, when they won't lie down anymore. We're on the road now - until the next one. But it's a blessed moment; things will soon be back to normal, time starting up again and the routines back in place. I've grown more appreciative, though; sometimes a stretch of peaceful, nurturing time at home is just the right thing - for body and spirit.

42 comments:

  1. I hope they're better now. My littlest boy had a temperature this week and a couple of days off of school. The first day he was floppy and hot and shivery, and asleep on the sofa by half past six. The next day he was dancing along behind me, skipping and singing. The day after that I sent him back to school! CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hated it when my children were sick, I still do and they're big people now!!!
    Hope you're all germ free soon!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I hope everything returns to normal soon...
    Good thing that you can stay at home to take care of them - good for the children as well as good for you !

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hope they are much better now!!! My children are all grown up now and still I really hate it when they are sick!!! Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy week!!!
    Love
    AMarie

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope everyone gets better soon and doesn't pass their illness on to you. Children can be a wee bit too generous when it comes to passing on their germs!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm glad everyone is on the road to recovery. Like you I am so grateful that I am able to stay at home and look after my girls if they fall ill, even though they are much older now. There is something rather lovely about a bit of gentle pottering and tending, as long as it's nothing too serious of course. I love your crocheted blanket and cushion by the way. Wishing you a good, and healthy, week. x

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hope that everyone is on the mend now, Jennifer. My boys are rarely ill, but I absolutely echo what you write about being able to care for them. To be there and to be able to provide for their needs shouldn't be taken for granted. It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately.
    I hope you are all able to enjoy that cool crisp weather soon. Take care,
    Leanne

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sorry you've had illness to deal with, but thankful you were able to help care for them, that's how I felt this week too x hope everyone is well soon xxx

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hope your little one is feeling much better now. I always felt so badly when our children were ill, and sometimes all you can do is cuddle and try to soothe their pain.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Sounds like GB is on the mend, Jennifer, and that must be a relief. Reading your post today, brought back memories of my little Liberty, when her lack of energy, sniffles and sad eyes use to tear me apart!

    Poppy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Never good with illness and sending quick healthy vibes your way ox

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hope everyone is well soon and you manage to stay well. It is indeed a blessing these days that you can stay home and have the means to care for them.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I hated it when Matt was little if he got poorly (I still don't like it to be honest!), but I felt so helpless I couldn't make him better, and I know I'm not good if I don't get out either. Not a good situation for either of us. x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorry to hear that you have had the ickies at your house, I hope that the children are feeling better now and that you can take some time for you this week. It is never fun when someone is ill is it. xx

    ReplyDelete
  15. What I like about this post Jennifer is that despite the rotten illness plaguing your house you've managed to find the positives. Sometimes we do have to be forced to slow down and it's at times like that that you appreciate the smaller things that are usually overlooked. Here's hoping you are all bright eyed and bushy tailed again soon x Jane

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sometimes a bout of sickness just slows everything down and makes everyone think and appreciate. But it's horrible going through it and very worrying. Both my husband and I took sick last Friday night and it lasted the whole weekend - still didn't feel well all last week. The weekend disappeared in a total blur. It made me think how do people cope who don't have even the most basic of facilities that we have. I didn't have anything serious;y wrong with me but I felt awful. What if I'd HAD to go out and work in the fields or go to fetch water? It doesn't bear thinking about.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm glad to hear your kids are on the mend. It's horrible when they're ill, but at least we're at home to care for them and make them comfortable. For that I'm always grateful, too. Wishing you a restful, healthy week! x

    ReplyDelete
  18. It's so awful when your children are unwell, even if it's only a transient illness. I've found one of the hardest things for me since having children is when you're unwell and they've recovered their energy! We are lucky here to have lovely homes and medicine to care and nurture our children when they're unwell. I found out today a (very senior) colleague of mine is off to Sierra Leone to help out with patient care (in light of the Ebola crisis). It's not something I think I could volunteer for!
    Hope your week continues in a healthy way!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. hope you all are on the mend....it does make you slow down and notice what is often the overlooked mundane....and sometimes that's pretty wonderful. making lemonade out of a lemon-y situation.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I hope all are feeling better now Jennifer, it's awful to see them suffering, but it's amazing how they spring back again after some quiet time and TLC xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Mine have all been poorly too. Nothing serious but still, we worry don't we, and as you say, huge sigh of relief when they are better. Hope you all stay healthy
    Jillxx

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm sorry to hear you have had sickness strike your home. The quiet and thoughtful care you give your children will no doubt help them make a quick recovery. The cranky stage is a sure sign of recovery. Stay well yourself, Jennifer!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I totally get this post of yours. First let me say I hope that the little bears are feeling better very soon. I used to almost feel a bit of relief when my kids were down with a little bug (not a big one). It made me have to stay home, stay in and putter around the house. I think we get so busy running here and there it is sometimes good to have an excuse to slow down and just read to your little one, cuddle under a blanket and watch a movie.
    Hugs to you and stay well,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh no, I am so sorry to hear you had illness in the house while The Bear was away. Typical! I hope you're all over it now, and feeling better. I don't cope well with sickness, mine or anyone else's, and resent the way we must all drop everything. But the caring, the mothering, that feels good. What a thoughtful post. You're such a great mum. :-) xx

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am with you on this one friend. The feeling that you can be the one to take care of them and nurture them is a good feeling. It comes down to being a mom and what a blessing that is. So glad they are feeling better and that you all can get out in that crisp air now! Lovely week to you dear friend! Nicole xo

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm sorry to her your baby's were sick. I hope you're not next! I remember the same feelings when my boys were little and were sick at home. I always felt so grateful that I was able to be at home with them though.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I hope you don't catch the bug Jennifer! You are the sweetest mum ever, so caring and passionate. Would you like to be my mum for a wee while, too? xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also meant to say that I also hope your little ones are better now. x

      Delete
  28. good to hear everyone is feeling better now..
    i know how you feel.. our house was struck with illness too.. it worse when us the mother's are sick.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh, I hope everyone is well again. It's never easy having sick ones in the house, but you are a wonderful mother, and it sounds like you took wonderful care of everyone! Hope your week is going well!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beautifully written. I really enjoyed reading this post. It does put things into perspective when your little ones are sick. I like how upbeat you are about it and I hope that you don´t get sick as well. Your daily pictures are sweet and homey. The spotted bananas are something I got a kick out of because I just posted a picture on my blog of my dining room table and guess what I had in my fruit bowl? Yep spotted bananas :)

    Have a good week.
    Birgitta xx

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think illness sometimes knows when to come and make you slow down and just rest. I enjoyed all your images. I'm glad everyone is on the upswing. Caleb had a temperature this morning and stayed home from school and it was my lap where he wanted to cuddle. I wrapped him in the blanket I'm working on for him.. as he was shivering and was feverish. I just got over the last illness the little guys brought home from school.. I do hope I don't get this one! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. I hope all are feeling better now..
    Greetings

    ReplyDelete
  33. There is nothing as helpless feeling as being a mother with a sick child in the middle of the night.
    I hope they are feeling better today and will stay well for a very long time :)
    And you too ! I always ended up getting sick after the children got well ..

    ReplyDelete
  34. I hope they're all feeling better now and back to their normal selves again. Nothing worse than sick children. You wish you could swap places with them. Take care. P x

    ReplyDelete
  35. What a beautiful post! It's a perspective on illness that hadn't occurred to me (that we can afford the medicines, the comfortable home etc). Makes me realise just how much I take for granted... Glad they're on the mend! x

    ReplyDelete
  36. I hope you are all feeling better. I must admit I really don't like when my oldest becomes sick. Isolation and a lot of crankiness goes on in our home. She's much better now that she is a little older. Her sister on the other hand, well she is still so tiny and has not had her share of colds. -I am thankful for now. Resting during sickness is definitely needed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Beautifully written, Jennifer. You captured those kind of days so perfectly, every detail! I have experienced those days too, in the past with my own children and once or twice helping out with my grandchildren too. It encapsulates mother love and nurturing......I hope your family are all well again now.
    Helen xox

    ReplyDelete
  38. I hope your daughter's better now and that the illness hasn't been passed on to anyone else. It's horrible when little ones are poorly.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Sorry the children have been poorly, Jennifer, and I send you and them my sympathy. I hate feeling ill and feverish myself, so it's not surprising little ones need a lot of care when they feel the same. I'm glad you've been able to see the positive side of this quiet, isolated time.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hope your little ones are on the mend sending them my love x

    ReplyDelete
  41. So glad to read above that you're out the other side. Even when they're all grown, you know, you want them back in the fold to mother when they are unwell. I doubt that ever changes x

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...