Ben was coughing this morning, and I sent him to school anyway.
I medicated him first, of course. Ryan had a cold at the end of last week, on Friday. Audrey joined in over the weekend. And this morning, the family hypochondriac felt he was sick too.
Of course, this sickness didn't seem to bother him over the weekend, when his cousin came over and spent it with us; or when another friend slept over too on Sunday night; nor did it hamper him attending a birthday party for a school chum Sunday afternoon.
No, this sickness bothered him after I'd gotten him to school. When I was 3/4 of the way to work, making good time in light traffic. I saw the # in the window of my cell phone and was pulling off the freeway before I even answered it.
I knew what the nurse was going to say, and I was right. "Ben is coughing, tired, says he feels really sick... Do you want to talk to him?" "Sure," I replied, knowing full well that there would be tears and I would bite back my irritation and be reassuring. "I feel like I can't get enough air," he said, and started to cry.
Oh, great. Play the breathing card on me. Something I can't respond to with: "Slap a bandaid on that and send him back to class."
"Tell the nurse I'm coming. I'll be a bit because I'm almost at work. Stop crying, I'm turning around and coming to get you right now."
I groused a little to myself on the way to the school. I like to think that I am patient, and kind, and good to the kids. They know how much I love them.
And yet here I was, mired in *is that?* resentment. Black, smoldering, dammit, resentment.
Now, over the weekend, my nephew decided he wanted to go home. I don't know why. He was a little whiny about it, and his Mom lives over an hour away; and they both knew we weren't planning on heading over their way again until Monday when she dropped him off to me at my work on Sat afternooon. He really enjoys his time with Ben, so I wasn't anticipating any problems, and was surprised that he said he wanted to leave.
So I called his Mom. I figured she could talk to him and get a handle on what was making him want to leave, and talk him out of it. I handed him the phone, and went out to throw out the trash. When I came inside, he was done. As I shut the door, I heard Ben say, "Dude, that's messed up." He looked at his cousin. "Tell her, man. Tell my Mom what your Mom said." My nephew sunk into the couch, trying his best to disappear. "What?" I asked. "Tell her, you won't get in trouble." My nephew remained silent, so Ben said, "She said she won't come and get him." My nephew looked a little forlorn. I teased him, but couldn't get a smile. "Looks like you're stuck with us," I said. And I promptly went into the kitchen and started making some cookies. Chocolate chips are good for the soul. (He did perk up later, but cookies had nothing to do with it. He just started having a good time again.)
I remember feeling a little bit 'hmphf' as if it were one of the kids, I'd go get 'em. I couldn't understand my ex-SIL's logic, but it is a drive, and chances are, she'd get here and he'd not want to leave. Her reasons are her reasons, and that's fine. But. I was kinda snotty about it when I told Mr W the news. And Mr W, bless him, offered to run him home if he really wanted to go. But by that time, he opted to stay.
However. When I felt that wave of resentment this morning, I thought to myself that I had no business being snotty about my nephew's situation at all when here I was, pissed about a sick kid ruining my day. On Friday, it was Ryan being sick and making me rearrange my day off around him that made me grit my teeth.
I was resentful last week when my supervisor informed me I was not eligible for a position I'd applied for, even though it's a step up from what I do now and hardly an earth-moving promotion, because I'm part-time. I get tired of the "but you're part-time" getting thrown in my path, as an explanation of all the things I can't do or have or achieve; and it breeds a certain kind of contempt in me that I am part-time because of my home situation.
I get mired in all the things I give up to stay at home and lose my focus on all the things I do right by being here. This is the reality of my life, a world I chose, and I don't think it's fair to anyone for me to harbor any ill feelings.
It's dark, it's ugly, and it makes me feel really, really small.
All the things I like to think I am not, brought to the surface like some putrid boil, reminding me that even in the lightest of hearts, there is a dark spot of selfishness.
I gave Ben a breathing treatment, and he's doing better.
After a few deep breaths, I'll be doing better too.