The past few days have brought some stress and challenges. And some cheap, sweet-smelling security.
Saturday, we celebrated the kid's birthday. He's 5 now. Family filled the house. Thankfully, the weather was absolutely cooperative and wonderful; kids ran and played outside, adults sat on dusty-but-functional lawn chairs, and far too much sugar was consumed with glee.
And then. Just a day later, my kid got sick. One of those horrible, throw-up sicknesses that bring you out of a lovely, dreamy sleep in the wee hours of the morn. You're awakened by a cough, the wet awful cough that precedes the expulsion, and...well, you get the idea. I am really glad he waited until after his birthday. I am so very thankful for the beautiful weather. And yet—we still have a pukey kid on our hands here.
Perhaps I did not mention that last week, whilst I spoke on the phone and multi-tasked by also making dinner—at 10:30 am, mind you, because I work in the afternoons—did I mention that I pulled a muscle in my neck? And that it is still aching? That driving, merging, even turning to talk to someone on my side, all those innocent activities send stabbing pains down the side of my head-stem? Perhaps I forgot to mention that?
Not to complain, mind you—I am really trying to be thankful. The great weather. The happy birthday. The fact that sickness held off and my days of preparation were not in vain. (Those preparations have been in vain, several times in the past. It has been quite sad.)
Anyway. Many years ago, when I had a personal life and spending money and used to visit the Strip District regularly, I purchased a wonderful thing. It was a heating pad of sorts, a simple cloth bag that a woman had hand-sewn and filled with dried corn. Todd and I have lovingly referred to it as the corn bag for all this time. When microwaved to toastiness, it has seen me through sore muscles, cramps, back pains, and the like. It has served both of us well.
So, when my neck continued to ache, I searched far and wide for the corn bag. I knew I would never have thrown it away, yet I couldn't find it. I looked, and looked again. At last, I uncovered the thing in my closet, in a spot I hadn't thought to search. I threw the bag in the microwave (the same microwave which is beginning not to work—did I mention that? not that I'm complaining) and the bag warmed to the perfect temperature.
I went to the microwave, pulled out this little miracle satchel that smelled so richly of popcorn, and took the fabulously aromatic bag of goodness to the living room. I placed it behind my head, leaned my aching neck upon it, breathed in the luxurious smell of warm corn. Ahhhhhhhh.
And my sick son watched. He wanted to know what the bag was. He wanted to feel it, to squish the kernels between his little fingers. Then he wanted to put the thing under his feet, which he told me were cold.
Okay. I am a mom. This is my flu-stricken child, asking for the corn bag. He put it under his little toes and nestled them down into the pleasing warmth. He smiled at me, the first smile I'd seen all day. Then he hugged the bag to his chest.
Today, as I forced myself to dress for work, to leave my little sick boy, I heated the corn bag one last time for his enjoyment. He tucked the fragrant warmth under him as I left for work. I didn't want to go, it's true. But if I must, and I must, then I am happy he has the corn bag to clutch in my absence. His dad will be there to re-heat it as needed.
It's not me. But it's a heavy, warm thing to hold close when he needs that comfort. A worthy investment, if you ask me.