Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called “Sick.” In it, a little girl invents a series of ailments that will prevent her from attending school, only to be miraculously healed when she realizes it is Saturday.
We have sort of the opposite situation around here. Zachary has never missed a day of school in a year and a half. No, he is not the healthiest preschooler on the planet. No, I don’t send him when he is sick. He is just apparently committed to getting sick only on weekends and school holidays. There was the stomach bug over winter vacation. There was the time he and his brother got conjunctivitis on the very first day of spring break and finished their course of treatment the day before school started back up. And of course the countless fevers that start on Friday and end sometime in the night on Saturday, so that the requisite 24 hours has elapsed between the end of the fever and his return to school Monday morning.
So, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he was perfectly healthy at noon on Friday when I picked him up from school but by 1:30 was clearly too sick to continue his playdate. By 3:00, his fever was over 102°.
Now, those of you who are either under-occupied in your own lives or who are stalking me will have noted that this was the weekend my husband was taking out of town with friends, in exchange for my getaway next weekend. While I have lined up some help for him next weekend, no one was around to assist me this weekend.
So, as I looked at the almost-four-year-old who was too sick to do anything but sit and be read to and the almost-two-year-old who was too healthy to do anything but run around outside and my own six-months-pregnant self, I had to stop and wonder. Maybe there really is a God. And that deity has decided that the transcontinental move and the new house and the book and the husband working insane hours and the pregnancy and the potty training and the forty-nine other things I have going on are just not enough and that what I really needed this weekend was one child with cabin fever and another with a real fever.
I looked imploringly at the heavens and thought that perhaps this was how Job felt.
But there was the mother of three whose sons go to school with my boys who offered to take Benjamin Saturday morning. Firmly of the opinion that she has enough going on, I reluctantly declined and took them to a playground for awhile, where Zach sat on my lap while Benjamin scaled the equipment.
There was the call when we returned from the neighbor with whom I had cancelled a playdate for that morning. Her husband had taken their elder child out of town for the weekend, and she offered to take Benjamin for an hour to play with her son.
There were the two friends from college who – after returning from a week out of town – took Benjamin to a playground all Saturday afternoon. Zach and I spent the hours on the couch, reading all of the Frog and Toad books.
And, of course, by Sunday morning, Zachary’s fever was gone, just in time to leave him clear for a return to school today.