Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sickness, Jobs, and Perspective

My youngest threw up at school yesterday. He probably shouldn't have been there, I know. He woke up that morning saying his stomach hurt. A stomach ache is hard to diagnose as if it is a legitimate reason to stay home or a convenient excuse for not wanting to go to school. I also have a need to be at work and not let people down. I also have a hard time giving up a day's pay right now. So I took him to school. I checked in on him later in the day--he was doing fine after a rocky start. But a couple hours later his teacher had brought him to my room. So my wife was frustrated I had taken him to school. I still kind of feel in the middle of a rock and a hard place with those kind of decisions.

He said his stomach hurt again this morning. He hadn't had any more issues after the one. I thought he'd be okay. He maybe is. But I'm playing it safe today. We're both at home.

These sort of decisions were a lot easier when I was full-time at home. If my oldest was appearing sick, I'd generally just keep him home. Those decisions are harder to make when it requires missing a day of work for me as well.

There are a lot of things that are harder now that I'm working during the school year. Both my wife and I are tired when we get home from work, but there are meals to cook, clothes to wash, dishes to do, floors to sweep, bathrooms to clean, and a yard to take care of. Plus, we want to spend time with the kids, time with each other, and have time doing the things we need to do for ourselves as well. That's not including the meetings and other obligations that fill the schedules.

But I'm just preaching to the choir, here. Most of us are familiar with the busyness of life--and how it gets compounded when parents are working. Sometimes we just have to do our best.

A friend recently reminded me that no one has said on their deathbed, "I wish I had spent more time cleaning the house." Her point was that sometimes we don't do something we need to do for the sake of spending time with our children or spouse. Of course, we can't choose that every day or we'd get in trouble for sending the kids to school in clothes that haven't been washed in five weeks or for them getting sick from eating off dishes with an unnamed fungus growing on them.

The point is, sometimes we need to make the better choice. And some days that's keeping my kid home from school for the sake of his health (and the health of everyone else in the school). And I need to remember that having that time with him is a gift.

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