Recently my 7-year old son took a “mental health day.” OK, maybe that’s not what it was. I don’t know.
He woke up tired and snotty. He didn’t seem sick enough to deserve to skip school. (I come from a long line of parents who believed that only severed limbs and near-comatose illness got you an excused absence from school.) But he was dragging badly. That’s not normal for him. Tigger is his spirit animal! So, I decided to keep him home.
He slept several more hours while I worked. Then he accompanied me on an appointment. After that, we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a can of his favorite soup, and a box of Jello. He’d asked me to teach him how to make it, and that’s well within my culinary skills.
At day’s end, he was back on track. When we were heading to bed, and I gave him one last hug, he told me in his gravelly little voice, “Dad, it was a great day. I loved being with you.”
Oh man. Those words were a shot of joy injected directly into my tired system. I didn’t even care if he was sick or not; My heart jumped. I had a pretty good day too. Maybe the thing that needed care wasn’t his body so much as our relationship.