I am reveling in the fact that my son actually thinks I am cool...for now. I know that very soon I will be old, uncool, out of style, boring, dorky...you get the gist. So when Coulby looked at me the other day and said, "Guess what. You ROCK, mommy!," it made me stop in my tracks to say, with as much surprise as gratitude, "Thanks, Coulby!" Coulby's exclamation surprised me because I did not know he even knew that expression, and rendered me speechless because no one has thought of me that way in F-O-R-E-V-E-R. Those days of being cool seemed to be long gone. And now my son thinks I rock! I will take it while I can.
The ironic part about it all is that I think Coulby rocks! He is such an awesome kid, and I am not just saying that because he is my son. He just rocks. Coulby has endured more, experienced more, suffered more, and overcome more than most kids his age. And he has done it all with grace. And a little bit of attitude. I give him that because, well, he has earned it.
Coulby started kindergarten in August, and as much as I hated seeing him get on the bus to ride into the deep blue germ-infested yonder, I knew he needed that. My stomach got tied up in knots knowing that he would be in school all day this school year, and therefore exposed to a full day's worth of germs instead of only a pre-k 2.5 hours' worth. But Coulby loves school. I mean absolutely loves it! I knew my fears of germs and illness could not, no, would not, get in the way of Coulby's natural progression to the next step in his education. So off he went.
No one knows what it is like to have thoughts of kids coughing without covering their mouths, or sneezing into the open air, or wiping snotty noses with their hands and then touching everything around them, swirling through the brain. Thoughts of colds and flu, especially the hyped-up H1N1 virus. That is what I think about all the time. Protecting Coulby from all of that. Ways that I can teach him to stay clean and healthy. Ways that I can teach him to avoid everyone who appears to be ill. But how can I do that? I mean without putting the poor kid in a bubble?
Despite all of my best efforts to keep germs at bay, Coulby brought home a nasty cold several weeks in to school. He made it through that like a champ. Then on Thursday morning he woke up warm to the touch. His temperature was 101.2 and he complained of a stomach ache. When I told Coulby that he had to stay home from school that day, while masking my worry that kicks in whenever Coulby gets sick, he retracted his complaints of a stomach ache and said he was fine. He actually started crying because I would not let him go to school. That is how much he loves it! (We shall see if that lasts into the next several years when he is bringing home school work and studying for tests.) Coulby seemed to look a little more tired than usual, with puffy red rings under his eyes, but other than that, I would not have known he was sick. He was playing, talking, running around, and still had an appetite. Then I got a call. One of the kids in his class was confirmed to have H1N1. My stomach was suddenly full of butterflies.
My body went into overdrive after that phone call. Calls to the geneticist, calls to the dietitian, Internet searches on symptoms of swine flu...anything that I thought would help us get through this illness at home. And we did! Coulby had a fever for days that only broke yesterday evening, and has maintained his normal energy level during the whole thing. This has been another obstacle overcome, at home, by my brave boy.
And to this I say, "You ROCK, Coulby!"