Monday, February 22, 2016

Give and take

Mary Sullivan

Have you come across this problem?

Last week, my daughter was sick with the flu. I took care of her for four days before she booted me out of her apartment. Her reason for asking me to leave? She didn't want me to get sick. In fact, she was terrified that I would catch the flu.

When she wasn't sleeping for hours every day, she was on the internet researching all of the precautions I should be taking to stay healthy while so close to her. At least she was willing to acknowledge that she was sick enough to need someone to take care of her. Plus, she wanted me to make a pot of the soup I've made for her every time she's been sick since she was a little girl.

Her first sip of the broth elicited a great big, 'Aaahhh, I needed that.'

I understood her concerns; however, I'm exceedingly healthy and I washed my hands constantly while I was there.

One evening, we played a board game together because she was starting to go stir-crazy. I had to sit across the room from her and stand up and walk over to the game board to take my turn. I was laughing about it, and she did too to a certain extent, but she was also adamant. I wore plastic gloves while I played.

She invited me to come back over yesterday evening because she was no longer contagious. She was still tired, but is slowly on the mend. We were supposed to play board games again. Instead, we prepared her food for the week so all she would have to do was to reheat leftovers. By the time I left she had a good daily menu set up to last at least four days.

She apologized a number of times because we were cooking instead of playing. Also, she had to sit down often while I continued to cook. Every single time, I had to convince her yet again that it was truly my pleasure.

When she realized she was sick last weekend, she was a two-and-a-half hour drive away. I drove up thinking I was picking her up so we could go skating in an amazing provincial park, but ended up driving her home because she was too weak to skate. We drove into a wet snowstorm and crawled home. The drive took four hours. Again…more apologies from my daughter because the day hadn't turned out as planned. Again…more explanations from me that I was happy to do this for her.

Spending time with her in any form is a pleasure for me. I was sorry that she was sick, but also relieved that I was available and able to help.

Last night, she walked into my arms and said she'd wanted one of my hugs all weekend. She wouldn't let me come close enough to hug her last week. I would have been there to give her as many as she'd wanted if she'd only allowed me to stay.

Asking me to leave because of her fears that I would get ill was her way of protecting me, of giving to me what little she could give at that time.

It seems that we love to give to each other.

Have you come across the problem of someone wanting and needing your help, but sending you away so you wouldn't get sick?


Anonymous said...

Mary - Your daughter loves you as much as you love her. What a wonderful job you have done in your mom capacity!

mary sullivan said...

Thank you, Anonymous!

Mary Preston said...

When it comes to illness, my family is more than happy to share.

The lack of sympathy is in evidence too.

I need to trade in my family.

Unknown said...

Your daughter really loves you!! When I'm sick I don't want my family to catch what I've contracted either, but I haven't gone to those lengths to shield them. Perhaps I should. Thankfully we don't generally catch one another's colds and flus for some reason, but I know that we could. Your daughter is just really concerned about your well being. What a great thing. ( :

Anonymous said...

I send people away. My daughter and husband want the care when they are sick. One year we all got the flu together. I remember still taking care of them even though it turned out I had the highest fever. Does not matter, when they need me I can alway find the strength to take care of them. Funny story, my daughter got well the quickest, so I took her to her daycare to keep away from us. Her teacher took one look at me and said he would be taking her home and picking her up from my home the next morning. I guess I looked pretty sick still! and they did not want me to come back to the center until I was well.

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