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Thank God For This Virus

This summer, I decided that I wasn’t going to let being sick ruin my day. We have three kids under the age of 6, so sniffles and sneezes are a common occurrence in our household.

During our third round of viruses this year, I decided to have a good attitude regardless of how I felt physically. My sinuses might be congested I don’t have an appetite, but I could still choose to be happy.

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Probably the biggest thing I fret about when I’m sick is all the household chores and freelance assignments I’m not getting done.

The devil whispers to me that I’m lazy. He makes me feel bad for collapsing into the recliner instead of washing dishes, folding laundry, and researching my latest article. But I choose to view resting as actively recovering. I’m not guilty or lazy; I am giving my body a vital period of rest so that it can fight the virus raging inside it.

I’ve learned that thanking God for something negative, whether it is an unexpected bill or the common cold, quickly takes away all the power from the devil.

He tries to use experiences that we perceive as bad to permit more sin to enter our lives. The bills pile up and we worry about finances. We get a cold and snap at our kids and spouse when they try to help vacuum the living room and the lines run the wrong direction.

A mother’s propensity to keep on keepin’ on and not miss a stride in housework and childcare, even when she has a temperature of 101 and hasn’t eaten solid food in three days, is ridiculous. We need to stop feeling like our households will cease to function if we don’t plan, prep, and serve every meal. Our kids can eat Kraft mac ‘n cheese for a couple of nights and survive.

Remember when we were kids and got sick? My mom always propped me on the couch with extra pillows, a blanket, and an endless supply of Disney VHS movies.

I ate Campbell’s chicken soup, saltine crackers, and vanilla ice cream. Or canned fruit cocktail. I always loved the cherries, which were precious few among the bits of pears, peaches, and half-skinned grapes. As kids, my sister and I were allowed to eat whatever we wanted when we were sick. I remember feeling very cared for and worry-free.

I decided to try to recapture that vibe for myself when I get sick. My three kids recently passed around a virus that ravaged our house for a week and a half. I held strong (thank the Lord) until two days ago when I came down with sinus congestion and a dry cough. I postponed my deep cleaning plans (ha! I didn’t have any of those, anyway) and let the kids watch too much TV while I rested.

I set my four-year-old son up with cartoons on the TV, handed my six-year-old daughter the tablet, and took a nap with my one-year-old. When we woke up, I laid on the floor and watched them play with Legos. In the afternoon, I sat on the front porch steps and watched them play in the grass.

I try to channel Erma Bombeck. She wrote that if she had her life to live over again, she would have taken to bed when she was sick and not pretended like the world would stop turning if she missed a step. Because she was right. Moms deserve rest, too.

Thank God.

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