December 6, 2013 by Angel Pricer
For the first time since he was born, I was not available to care for my son while he was sick. Both he and his brother came down with the same symptoms after our Thanksgiving visit and, while I was able to stay home with my youngest son, my oldest was cared for by the very attentive house parents at The Hunter School.
On Wednesday at 8:38 am I missed his call to let me know he was going to the doctor to evaluate the possibility of pink eye. I was in the basement of an office building with spotty cellular reception, receiving training for my position as an advocate for persons with intellectual disabilities.
It’s a perfect fit for me at this time, though several hours later when his message finally came through I found myself wishing I was further along in my advocacy for a local Hunter-like school. Then, at least, he would receive the best medicine of all; Mother Love. But here, now, it’s a job in alignment with my heart; one that pays a few bills and helps offset the cost of travel to and from New Hampshire.
After lunch, I received a very detailed voice message from one of the house parents about his doctor’s visit. Though he was slightly dehydrated, at least he didn’t have pink eye. He had to miss the rest of the school day, but could return the next, and above all he was “spritely and smiling.” They even made a special trip to get lemons, his favorite citrus fruit, and some cranberries, to boost his immune system.
It had been a rough several days of being sick and sequestered in his room in an attempt to curb the spread of sickness to the other kids. When we spoke the night before he said he was feeling claustrophobic and couldn’t wait to get back to school. That’s a new one for him!
Yesterday was the house parent switch over, and he was a little disappointed about the change. Both teams bring a lot of love, structure and sense of adventure to the home, but only one has a mother and, when you’re sick and can’t have your own, someone else’s can make all the difference.
It’s good that the worst of his illness is behind him, and I could tell from our conversation that he was handling the switch better than the first few times. I reminded him that being mindful of his emotions within ever-changing environments is a great strength to develop, and learning to navigate different interpersonal dynamics is a valuable skill that will serve him well wherever he goes. I could feel the small, wan smile in his voice when he said, “yeah…I know, Mommy.”
It’s been a trying week for everyone in our family, but we’re moving through and counting down the days until he comes home for a two-week holiday break. Today is his first day back to school since before Thanksgiving, and I can’t wait to hear all about it.