A Quick Thank You Note to the Flu

“It’s like he’s got it written on his forehead: FLU. The pink cheeks, the runny eyes, the high fever.”

That was the diagnosis from 3-year-old GG’s doctor yesterday. Nothing to be done. Fluids and rest.

Awesome. The flu. Just what we need when I’m at home with a 2-month-old baby, the infected toddler is at the height (so far) of his toddler-ish boundary testing phase, my mother, step-father and grandmother are visiting from the other side of the world and my husband is on a conference. Perfect.

As it turns out, it has been kind of perfect. Hell-ish at times too, yes, but perfect all the same.

My relationship with GG has been somewhat strained the past few months, through moving apartments, starting at a new kindergarten, the last couple of months of an emotionally-charged pregnancy and most recently the birth of his sister Little A. He’s been having a tough time and I’ve been struggling to give him the support he needs. To help him through it patiently, to realize that his most trying behaviors are exactly what he’s meant to be doing right now. To remember that he’s a 3-year-old boy. A baby himself. My baby.

And surprisingly that’s what the flu has done for me these past few days. The poor kid has been so miserable, so needy and floppy, that all my compassion for him came rushing back. And I realized – that’s what I’d been missing. I hadn’t been able to look past his annoying behavior enough to remember that he’s suffering. His whole world has been turned on its head and he’s still trying to find his place in the new reality.

With the flu, everything was so much clearer. His whining seemed justified; his constant demands to be curled up on my chest with his hand down my top right when I was trying to feed Little A didn’t seem annoying, but rather sweet and innocent. When he lost his shit when we were out to lunch with our Aussie visitors yesterday I didn’t feel angry, I felt sorry for him. I realized he wasn’t as well as I’d thought and got him home right away.

Of course, now his fever has lifted and with it a whole chunk of my patience. Apparently the magic of the flu is only temporary. So I guess now I’ll have to purposely cultivate those feelings of compassion, so I can feel less time feeling like my head is going to explode and more time feeling like this:


Exhausted and touched out… but totally loved up all the same ❤

So thank you flu. We’ll still vaccinate against you next year in the hopes that we never meet again, but you’ve taught me an important lesson nonetheless.

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