Today is the first day in like a week that I haven’t felt like I was dying. You know, people talk about how as you get older, you can’t drink as much as you used to, because hangovers are way worse when you’re middle-aged than when you were young. For me, it’s getting sick. Nobody likes having colds and flu but my immune system really gets hammered when I get sick, and I’ve gotten beat up pretty badly twice by illness this summer. It knocks out at least a week for me and takes two weeks until I’m really back to fully functional.
I am “immunocompromised” as they say, as I live with an autoimmune disease that lies relatively dormant as I had surgery to combat it a couple decades ago. But that which went awry in my system continues to be wonky, and thus when I get exposed to things like colds and flu, it just really knocks me the fuck down. I would say this is the hardest part of being single and a parent – the times when I get sick. Life is always stressful, there are always bills to pay, but limping along and trying to provide basic care for my kid when I’m sick like this is really a tough row to hoe.
My ex did offer to take the kid off my hands, for the record. He is not a bad guy and wants to make sure the kid is getting cared for properly. But then I lose a chunk of time with my little man. I already only see him half his childhood. Half. His. Childhood. Every day I lose that isn’t part of that half is like a knife in the gut. It’s time I’ll never get back. Unless I’m actually hospitalized, I’m very reluctant to let any of it go. Plus, I miss his little bony butt when he isn’t around, even when I’m horribly ill. He is feeling better after having a double ear infection and is back to curious, funny, talkative and active as hell, and was able to step up and help me a little with a couple of small things, get his homework done without too much effort, and he ate whatever I served with little complaint all week, for which I am truly thankful. Cooking this week consisted of a lot of processed crap heated up in the oven or that came from a box. It wasn’t my highest week. That’s ok. I got his goddamned breakfasts and lunches packed every single day, balanced meals were served for all three meals daily, and I got him to bed and to school on time so I did my job.
I don’t feel what I’d call great today. I still can’t taste food, my head is still very congested and my lungs aren’t much better, but I do feel a LITTLE better, which likely means tomorrow I will feel a lot better. So I can finish strong with him for the week, and hopefully have some fun this holiday weekend before he goes to his Dad’s.
Last night he got what he’s always wanted – a plethora of kids to play with in the evening. There are a lot of kids in our apartment complex but he didn’t know any of them before. Now that he’s in 2nd grade, he’s running into more and more kids who attend his school who live in our complex – three last night, and another two the other kids told him about who live somewhere in the complex that weren’t out that night. The kids all played together and talked to me and we all had fun.
The children are all of another race than my son, but they don’t see him as anything but another classmate and they all instantly run and play together without a second thought. I wish the parents were as open minded. They are all present at the playground but they avoid me like I have the plague, and always have. I am the other, and they won’t even meet my gaze, let alone return a smile. That’s fine. I’m here for my kid, and I’m a big girl, I can hang out alone. I’ll bring a book next time we go out. And something to sit on, because damn that ground is hard.
We’re going back out tonight, I promised him. After pizza, because he’s really tired of the leftovers all week. It’s Friday. Things are looking up. The sky is changing and fall is arriving like a beautiful cloak that will embrace us both.