Monday, October 19, 2015

Parenthood: Week 123 – Sick Day

There’s this moment in a classic Daredevil comic book when he approaches a stone slab with Elektra’s dead body (his girlfriend) laying on it and through a mystical force of will, he tries to bring her back to life. Daredevil passes out and when he awakes her body is gone. Later in the book, we see Elektra standing on a mountaintop standing strong. While it is later revealed that a character named Stone is the one who resurrected Elektra, it is told that Daredevil purified her soul.

Any parent who has cradled their sick child understands what Daredevil was trying to do. When your child is sick you would do anything to make them feel better. You would take your kids’ sickness on yourself, go on midnight drive to the drug store and even sit in a bathroom with the shower blasting at its highest temperature at 2am in the hope that it would loosen a cough.

Like most toddlers Ollie has had his share of sicknesses. Part of this is from the fact that last year he was in daycare and this year is in toddler school. Anyone who says that being in these situations allows kids to get sick and have stronger immunities later in life has no idea what they are talking about. There is no benefit to kids getting sick from daycare. That whole “immunities” reasoning is just false rationalization.

If all you had to deal with was your child just being sick, it would be tremendous amount of stress but in our society, there’s the issue of taking time off of work or finding childcare, which adds layers of work stress on top of what is already a challenging and emotionally draining situation. Once you get that piece settled the real work begins.

When a child is sick at a young age, it is of some comfort to know that they will not have long-term memories of being sick. The bad thing about kids being sick at such a young age is that you can’t explain to them that they will get better soon. Ollie has a sense that Tylenol will make him feel better but he’s only beginning to understand that he will better in the future.

There’s a feeling of powerless when your child is sick. You can take your kid to the doctor (deciding when to do this is a trial all by itself). Even when you do, often it’s just a virus that needs to work itself out so you are left there holding your child whose sad eyes fill you with a mixture of guilt, desperation, and anxiety.

It’s easy to forget in these moments that all of these feelings that give you that hollow, lonesome feeling deep inside is an expression of love. To feel so much for someone else, to be want to give part of your own life energy to make someone feel better truly is love.

Parenthood makes you feel this mixture of emotions so deeply that you feel alive and it is this experience that brings life meaning.

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