When I was little, I had my fair share of colds, asthma attacks and other childhood illnesses. During these times my mother was my primary caretaker.
Her care went beyond just wiping my nose and feeding me soup. She was good for warm hugs, cool compresses, steaming humidifiers, and all around mom comfort. I even have a memory of throwing up into her hands. I don’t know why her hands were there. (Was she trying to catch it? I’ve never asked.)
When I was about six years old, I asked my mom if she was worried she might catch my cold. “Of course not,” she said. “Moms don’t get sick.”
I believed her. She certainly never seemed to be sick. If she was sick, she must have hid it from me and powered through.
Now I’m a mom, and I’ve been fighting off a sore throat and hacking cough for the past week. My only real concern was not to let my baby catch it.
But now my nine-month-old has come down with an ear infection and pink eye. And no, despite what your friend told you in third grade, it’s not necessarily caused by poop in your eye. (Who knew?)
That doesn’t make it any less gross. But just like moms don’t get sick, they also don’t get grossed out.
So I’ve been trying to care for my goopy-eyed baby while I live on a combination of acetaminophen and vitamin C. I am powering through this because moms don’t get sick. I tell myself I am not allowed to be sick just like I am not allowed to be grossed out as I wipe away baby eye crust.
I’ve been washing my hands about 30 times a day and trying not to touch my face, because moms certainly do not get pink eye.
My adorable son must grow up believing as I did – that moms just can’t get sick. That must be why he reached up at my face with loving arms and stuck his finger in my eye. “Moms don’t get sick,” I tell myself as my eye begins to twitch.
Now I know why moms don’t get sick. It’s not a matter of powering through. By the time my son is old enough to have memories of me, I will have developed a strong enough immune system to fight off any illness, and I just won’t get sick.