Be thankful for the barrier between us right now, the hard computer screens and the world wide web behind them. I am a sneezing, sniffling, coughing mess. O and I have had a cold-exchange going on since about December. Here’s our monthly routine: She goes to preschool then comes home and wakes up in the night with a fever that turns into a head cold 2 days later. Two days after that, reliably, just as she’s feeling better I wake up feeling horrible.
I am here to tell you that those haunting words from other parents with toddlers are true. When your kid starts preschool, you will be sick all the time. I know, you think that you’re different. You wash your hands! And eat greens! And take a multi-vitamin! But there is no way to avoid it.
If anyone could tell me how long this lasts I’d be grateful. Is the first year you throw your child together with a bunch of other runny-nosed little kids the worst year? Or is this going to continue all the way through grade school? The thing about these colds is that they’re not over with a few sneezes and a few lethargic days. They are whoppers. Kid colds are pretty much the worst colds I’ve had in as long as I can remember. The constant onslaught of flus and colds and other illnesses that kids bring home has to be one of the hardest parts of being a parent. It affects everything: work, home life, sleep, happiness, ambition, my general outlook of the world.
When your child is sick and then you follow, it pretty much wipes out your life for a good two weeks. I feel like the meager reserves of energy I have when I’m sick go towards taking care of O. What’s left dribbles down into work, doing just enough to keep things going without getting completely behind (or fired). The drip or two of energy that’s left goes to my poor husband, who has seen me dragging around the house in pajamas, a faint aroma of Vicks Vapor Rub wafting behind me, more often lately than I’d like.
Yesterday, feeling crappy and stressed, I made myself list 5 things I was thankful for. The list was so easy to come up with that I immediately felt better. Life wasn’t so bad after all. This cold will pass. I have much to be thankful for. Like a husband who still loves me when I smell like Vicks Vapor Rub and can’t hold a conversation about anything remotely interesting. Yesterday, this lovely man of mine took O out for the afternoon so I could rest. I dozed for awhile and then became restless and hungry. I started dreaming about a bowl of hot, spicy, nourishing soup that would clear my sinuses and restore my energy.
But when you’re the mom, who makes you soup when you’re sick?
I moped out to the kitchen and then realized I had all the ingredients I needed to make Four Corners Lentil Soup from My New Roots. This is a super-simple soup, one that took only 10 minutes to throw in a pot. It simmered while I went back to bed. We ate it yesterday and then again today for lunch.
I skipped the cayenne, since I was hoping O would eat the soup too (she did, a little) and I doused my own bowl with a good amount of Sriracha. It’s a great soup for when you’re sick, but if you work from home it’s something to throw together mid-day for lunch even when you’re well. I can see pureeing this soup up for an infant. I might change it every once in awhile by adding some coconut milk or spinach.
So that’s all I’ve got for you today. Someone else’s soup recipe and a glimpse into my sad little life. But it will have to be enough. That’s the mantra I tell myself when I’m getting through the day as parent under the weather. I’ll do the best I can and it will have to be enough.