Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Everyone in Austin is sick, it seems. At work, during the hushed week after Christmas, and still after the new year began, I heard sniffles over cubicle walls. Email lists abound with reports of kids with RSV.

John was only sick for three or four days, and only had a good fever for two of those. I stayed up only one full night with him. And he's okay now; back in school, telling me "I got to go to recess today! I had lunch with Ms. W's class and I got to go outside with them!" After one semester of public school, he's spending more and more time with the kindergarten class and less time in special ed class.

Whatever illness he had soon migrated to me. It is harder in some ways, being sick as an adult. We're not as cute as a child, sick or not; and we have so much to do and worry about. So much to doubt. Our ability to ignore ourselves is so well-developed.

I finally stopped everything and went to bed a couple of days ago. I got over not being cute, and being needed for things, and just stopped. It was nearly impossible, allowing that.

My sense of permission to rest ended prematurely. I got up before I should have, and now I feel the consequences. But while it lasted, it was restorative. I will remember that success. Even though I wasn't able to rest long enough, I rested at all. And that's the same credit we give our kids, right? "You told me you had to go and you started heading toward the bathroom - that's great! Don't worry about if you made it there right now - you did a big thing!"

So, parents, I'll pass on the sense of permission. If you are tired from the holidays, disappointed, dissatisfied; if you have been staying up with sick kids, pushing yourself at work, or are sick yourself - take this. Take this permission to rest, for whatever length of time you are capable of. Let all your pluses and minuses go. Don't think anything. Love yourself like that child.


  1. I wonder if any of us ever really thought about the fact that we wouldn't be able to be sick long enough to get well... it's quite extraordinary.
    I hope the small amount of rest you did get, made you a bit better, and that you can find more moments of rest.

  2. Taking that permission or giving oneself that permission can be a very, very difficult. But I add my testimony: Parents need to do this, if not for ourselves, then for our families. We can't take care of our children if we do not take care of ourselves.