Tallulah's day off - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Funnily enough, as I’ve been reflecting on aging in recent columns, fighting the unwinnable battle of getting older, it was really something last week that hit the hardest when it comes to how different things are now, versus when I was a child.
At nearly two years old, Tallulah came down sick for the first time. Jess and I finally sent her to daycare on a Thursday and by Friday night she was sick with a runny nose, cough, fever and even some nausea. It was certainly a shock to our systems as parents. No one likes seeing their kid sick, so we were really just in survival mode as we cared for her. Then, when Jess caught whatever Tallulah brought home, that made it even tougher, but it didn’t exactly come as a surprise.
As I’m sure most parents can relate to, that week or so was no picnic. In fact, it’s probably been about the most challenging week we’ve had so far in our very young lives as parents.
What I’m getting at here is the discrepancy between a sick day when you’re a kid and when you’re an adult; more specifically, when you’re an adult with a sick kid at home.
Sick days have never been a very big part of my life. I don’t know if I’ve just “soldiered on” more than others or if I’ve been blessed with a stronger-than-average immune system (knock on wood), but I’ve just never been out sick much in my 40 years on this planet.
In school, I was always the kid who was like one day away from a perfect attendance award. I never won it, but I was always so close that I felt I should have got some sort of honorable mention. Here at The Citizen, I can count on one hand how many full sick days I’ve taken in my nearly 16 years here.
As a kid, though, unless I literally spent the whole day resting my chin on a toilet seat waiting to vomit again, I remember sick days being pretty magical. You got to watch T.V. that you normally didn’t get to watch (this was back before digital T.V., YouTube, PVRs and social media), you got a little more TLC from your mom and you likely heard “yes” a lot more than “no” when you asked questions.
When I was young, the T.V. schedule usually included The Price is Right, which was always on in the late morning hours. That was usually accompanied by the sound of soap operas coming from the small T.V. in the kitchen, as my mom did any of the many chores she usually had on her to-do list.
As I got older, there was always the roster of daytime talk shows, like Jerry Springer (before it turned into entirely a parody of itself and tried to be at least half-serious with its subject matter) and Maury. On a side note, I’m surprised a whole generation of us hasn’t been completely disillusioned with our very existence thanks to Maury. Seeing just how many men would celebrate not being a child’s father should really have made us question just how “wanted” we were by our parents, but by some miracle it didn’t seem to bother us.
I remember having the old newspaper T.V. guide from the Toronto Sun (my dad was a cop in Toronto, what publication did you expect us to have?) nearby as the half-hour closed in, excited to see what was next for my day.
Those were the days. Boy is it different when you’re the parent of a sick child. It’s no vacation and it’s hardly a day off.
So, that was a bit of a punch-in-the-gut realization: no fun to be had on a sick day.
However, we seem to have gotten through it. Sure, Jess and I have watched the same three hours of Olympic figure skating (the only thing Tallulah wants to watch these days) about 250 times, but we made it through.