So, we know each other pretty well now, you and I. What do you think my state of mind would be if I were in a lovely hotel room in lovely Savannah, Georgia, talking on speaker phone with my lovely husband and lovely daughter and she suddenly began spewing her lunch all over our bedroom?
I bet you can guess. If I were home, I could handle this efficiently. Going to work tomorrow wouldn’t even be a possibility. I would nurse my little R back to health with lots of Mommy love and maybe a trip to the pediatrician. After the bladder infection scare, subsequent VCUG and sentence of antibiotics for a year, you can never be to careful.
But I guess daddies are different. Dave, who took a sick day today because of a late night out last night, said she just had a little belly ache and would be better tomorrow. He’ll take the day off only if he had too. Most day cares, including the one we send R too now, has the 24-hour fever and vomitting rule. I wouldn’t want another parent sending their kid to infect R, and I wouldn’t want to send R to infect other kids.
But I’m here, hundreds of miles away (again), and unable to make that decision. I hate it. I hated listening to her heave and retch on the phone. I hated having to weight those interminable minutes for my cell phone to ring to hear what had happened. She’s a kid and I know kids get sick, but this really doesn’t help with the whole working-mommy guilt thing.
I arrived in Savannah about three hours before my meeting started, so I took the time to walk around (without a coat!) the downtown area and look for souveniers for my family. Then I remembered when I was in elementary school, how one of my friends’ fathers always traveled for work. He’d always bring her home great presents from Dallas or San Francisco or New York City. And she never really said anything, but instead of those presents, she would have rather had her dad at our fifth grade choir concert. And she would have liked to have him come to parent-teacher conferences and have lunch at school.
It was an early lesson that presents can’t replace people. And as I walked around the beautiful, green squares of Savannah I thought that was exactly what I was trying to do – replace my presence with presents.
But I beat myself up a lot over these trips. And the whole situation is heightened when she’s sick. So I’m trying to give myself a break here. Daddy can handle it. She’ll be okay. I hope.