Editor's note: Jill Adams is a professional writer based in Fort Wayne.
A couple of weeks ago, my youngest son was unusually lethargic and grumpy. I knew it could only mean one thing: He was getting sick.
Sure enough, just a few hours later, my poor little boy was burning with fever, complaining of a sore throat and generally miserable. It wasn't long before his brother and sister followed suit. We packed up and headed to the doctor.
“It's pretty contagious,” he informed me after examining the kids. “Be careful.”
I sighed. It was too late for that. As any mom does, I had been in the trenches wiping noses, offering cuddles and getting coughed on.
One week later, it was me who was the feverish mess.
“Go to bed,” my husband told me. “And stay there.”
I knew his order was two-fold: One, that I looked terrible; and the other, that he didn't want what I had. The right thing to do was to follow the command. I skulked upstairs to the confines of my room and fell into a sweaty and fitful sleep.
I awoke a short while later to see my little boy standing by the bed.
“Mom, are you OK?” he asked me with obvious dismay.
“I'm OK,” I told him. “I just have the ickies you had a few days ago.”
“Oh,” he said, satisfied. “Well, here's a cough drop. It will make you feel better!”
I took it gratefully, and he watched with approval as I popped it in my mouth. It actually did make me feel a bit better, and I propped myself up on my pillows for his benefit. He nodded appreciatively.
“Good job, Mom!” he exclaimed as he skipped out of the room.
I settled in and decided to watch a little TV. I had just flipped on a movie when my older son entered the room.
“Mom, I have some stuff for you,” he announced. Walking up to the nightstand, he laid down a Popsicle, a can of soda and a little piece of paper.
“What's this?” I asked him, picking the note up.
“A 'Get Well' letter,” he said sweetly.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed, truly touched.
“Let me know if you need anything else,” he said with a concerned look.
“I sure will,” I told him. “But just so you know, I'll be good as new in a couple of days.”
Obviously relieved, he smiled and hurried off.
As I continued my respite, I heard life carrying on downstairs. Pots clanging, doors opening and closing, laughter, sibling scuffles. And then, another visitor: this time, my daughter.
“Mommy, I sleep with you!” she said happily, climbing into bed. My husband followed behind her, and I looked at him with unease.
“Don't worry,” he said. “She's already had it. It's OK.”
My little girl snuggled up in bed and put her arms around me, and I closed my eyes in mommy bliss.
“Mama, you feel better,” she told me. Then she blew me a kiss and headed to bed. Miserable as I was, I couldn't help but beam at the affection.
One good night's rest later, and I felt almost human again. I ventured downstairs, where everyone greeted me happily.
“Thank you all for everything you did yesterday,” I told them as they gathered around me. “It really made me feel better!”
“Mom, you take such good care of us, we wanted to do the same for you,” my son said.
And that's the moment I knew for sure that jumping in the trenches was more than worth it.