The Little Girl got sick the other day, so I stayed home from work and dispensed orange juice and love.
She sighed, she snuggled, she unclenched. The kid went boneless in my arms, lying against me like she did as a baby, with her head in my neck and her soft breathing easily audible. I was in heaven.
Of course, if past patterns hold up, I might also soon be in the emergency room.
My kid gets a slight cold, I develop pneumonia. It’s happened five times in the last seven years. I’d never been hospitalized before I adopted my girl. Now it’s nearly a yearly thing.
This makes for a problem. When I notice her getting sick, my first thought is, poor baby. But very soon after, it’s poor me, oh, Lord, not 103 fever and coughing up blood again.
What a selfish cur I am. I hear my child sneeze and I start to worry about my own health. It seems nasty for a parent to think that way, but it’s become automatic.
I don’t mean to be a cretin. This is just the dynamic that’s developed. I’m no less a dad when she’s sick. It’s not like I turn her away when she wants to cuddle.
But in my head, I’m thinking about germ transference, and how my now-scarred lungs are going to use the latest crud as an excuse to fill with fluid and lay me low.
Such is the joy of parenting. It took my cousin years to develop immunity to his daughter’s illnesses. I’ll have no choice but to hang in there.
And there are benefits, I suppose. In a little while, the Little Girl will be old enough to pour her old man some orange juice. Can’t wait.