Moms are not supposed to get sick but last week, I did. We are just now coming off a two-week stint passing around the puke bucket, and, for as much as I try to be patient when the kids are sick, I have to admit I'm not pleasant when I am.
Acquired first by the eldest, this unnameable, unknowable and extremely disgusting virus we shared caused a host of symptoms—all of them, actually—from fevers and body aches to respiratory problems and digestive disturbances.
When it was my turn, I lay on the couch alternating between seven blankets and episodes of sweating that would give the menopausal pause, and in my fever-induced delirium I devised a plan for next time Mom is unable to perform. With vision blurred by sinus pain reminiscent of inhaling glass, I looked toward the piles of mail and crusted dishes on the kitchen table and determined there had to be a better way of coping when Mom gets sick. An emergency plan of action, if you will.
I hereby decree the following Mom's Sick Rules:
1) No friends are to be allowed in the house at the first sign of Mom's fever under penalty of death, meaning yours, and your friends'. Any child brave enough to ring that doorbell knowing I have to drag my diseased self to the door to tell you that you can't come in is going to experience the full extent of my wrath, no exceptions, and no shame. Consider yourself warned.
2) If you leave your Pop Tart on the couch and walk away from it and the dog eats it, score one for the dog and you don't get to have another.
3) I reserve exclusive use of the XBox for the duration of my illness, and no, I didn't purposely plan it to coincide with a major Rockstar release (it just happened that way, this time).
4) Written notice shall be sent to all of my neighbors notifying them that I can see them through the windows shaking their heads and staring at the condition of our grass, but I will nonetheless be unable to attend to lawn duties until the illness if over and the bathrooms are clean and the laundry is caught up, so complain all you like, you're not going to get anywhere.
5) The eldest present shall be second in command. Dad, that's you, when you're here. Son, when Dad's not around, that means you, even if you are only 7.
6) All whining is strictly forbidden. Whine at your own risk knowing that Mom can't be held accountable for inflicting punishment so severe you may not recover until you graduate from college.
7) If you ask me to get up to get you something and I know you know where it is, you're grounded until you're 50, just for making me tell you to get it yourself.
8) If you tell me I still look beautiful even though I haven't changed my pajamas in three days, I will add $10 to your allowance.