Illness is almost like a mood. And when it takes hold of a child, you can feel it take over the house. The mother rushes back from work as soon as she can and turns down invitations. “My child has come down with…” she says, apologetically as she refuses to leave the child’s bedside. The father checks in every few hours, and they go to school as often as the child, bringing back notes of what the child has missed in class.
The air is ridden with gloom and anxiety and anticipation. Relatives get live updates of the situation every twenty four hours.
Sounds like an exaggeration? It sounds like a major chunk of second grade, when I got typhoid. I don’t remember how long it took to recover from it… all I can remember is that it felt like forever. It was an endless cycle of soup, sponge baths, temperature-checking, missed-swimming-classes and living in bed. My brother wasn’t allowed in the room, lest he catch the fever too. My parents, they didn’t seem to care if they did… they’d hover around, looking just as sick…with worry.
When I was well enough to get back to school, they struggled as much as I did to catch up with everything that was going on in class. The day after my re-exam, there would be dark circles under their eyes. My mum would have long conversations with my class teacher on everything I should be up to date with. When I was back on track, so were they. Everyone slept fitfully again! The measuring cup for my medicine and the ever-present thermometer went back to the shelf. It was a relief not to see it around anymore, daunting the lives of everyone around.
Given that from ages 5-10, the child is the life of the house, I guess I’m trying to say that she does inevitably set the mood of the house. During my healthier and happier days in second grade, my laughter was their laughter. My anecdotes about school tickled them just as much. When I skipped around the house, there was a spring in their step. Our birthdays felt like theirs, with the food, cake, bevy of people and never ending supply of gifts and chocolates.
I also remember a time when I was at my peak: when I’d eat all the fruits on my plate, finish my homework on time and we’d all go out somewhere at least once a week. There was the time we went to an amusement park… and came back with our hair dripping wet and dopey smiles pasted on our faces. I held a stuffed toy I’d won in an arcade game, and my brother just ran around the house; he was at the age when he had too much energy. We were tired and famished, but it was a good kind of tired. Looking back, it’s extremely clear that the physical health of a kid, any kid, inevitably influences the mental (and physical) energy of the house.
This post is a part of the IndiBlogger Happy Hours activity, courtesy Dabur Chyawanprash (https://www.liveveda.com/daburchyawanprash/)