Having the flu stay at our house all week has been rough. I noticed something though: It was really just rough for me. The kids, who were hit pretty hard by the virus, have been incredibly upbeat despite all the sickness and discomfort. Sometimes they cried when they threw up, but when it was done, it was done. They had to forsake not just their favorite foods, but nearly all foods, and while they did complain, it was only at meal times. When they hurt, they whined. When they were tired, they grumbled. When it was over, it was over. And just before, and just after, and all the little moments in between, they were happy.
Have you ever noticed how kids can do that? How young kids can jump from one emotion to the next in a matter of minutes, or even seconds?
I, on the other hand, with all my adult wisdom and experience, find myself hanging on to things, dragging things out, really getting carried away by emotions so often. I got sick, but I didn’t just sleep and vomit and get over it. Not quite.
First, I stewed: I can’t believe I am sick. I never get sick. I can’t even remember the last time I had something like the flu. I haven’t even been around sick people. It isn’t fair. Getting sick is the worst possible thing that could happen right now. I have way too many things to do right now to be sick. I don’t have time to be sick.
Then, I worried: How will I ever get caught up with the housework? What about all my clients that are expecting finished work this week? What about the overdue library books? Am I over burdening my family? What if this lasts for a week? What if it lasts for longer than a week?
And I did more than my fair share of grumbling about how awful, how terrible, how miserable it is to have the flu. Did I mention that every part of my body hurts? I have never had a headache this bad. I just wish I could sleep, but I can’t sleep. I hate throwing up. I really hate throwing up.
Today, however, I noticed the kids. All three of them could throw up and then grin at me. They took each moment as it came, and then let it go. They had the flu, until they didn’t. They felt sick, until they didn’t. They were fully present in each moment, and when the moment passed, they let it go.
This, too, shall pass.
I think the kids have got it all figured out. They know how to keep it real.
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