I am annoyed that my children are ill. I am really annoyed that I am also ill. We have fevers that keep spiking, we’ve all developed a terrible cough, and poor Mellow had an enormous cyst on her eyelid that is now oozing and leaking so she looks like she is crying tears of blood.
This virus came to us from Wildling’s school. I know this, because half the students were out sick on Monday. Half the students. It’s not a big school, but still, that is a strikingly large percentage of sick children.
I can’t help but be angry at whomever it was that sent the original virus to school and spread it around. Someone sent a child to school who shouldn’t have been there, and because of them, I have had to stay up nearly every night this week monitoring my baby’s fever. I have had to take one daughter to the emergency room and the other to the pediatrician. My mother-in-law had to come over yesterday to take care of the three of us, and now she might get this terrible virus as well. My husband has had to take off work to care for us, and he knows that it’s just a matter of time before he too shall suffer.
I am angry that someone made the decision to send their sick child to school. But I also realize that *NOT* sending a sick child to school is not always possible. I come at it from a position of privilege – I am self-employed, part time. When Wildling had to stay home from school this week, I simply didn’t work. I didn’t have to call my boss and ask permission. I am not using up vacation days, or worse, taking unpaid days. I didn’t have to call around and find a babysitter so that I could still go to work. Today, Will is off work to take care of us. He has sick leave and vacation time. He is not going to get fired for non-attendance. His employment is secure.
Not everybody has this. I imagine someone feeling their child’s forehead and realizing it was a little too warm, and thinking that they couldn’t afford this, they had to go to work. One more absence could mean the loss of a job. I imagine no malicious intent when that parent gave their child a dose of medicine to bring the fever down and dropped him off at school (also, in my imagination the sick child is a boy, and specifically the one that sometimes picks on Wildling because he is easy to blame since she doesn’t like him anyway). I imagine that parent didn’t think of the consequences or lied to themself that their child wasn’t contagious. It’s just a little fever. Probably nothing. I imagine that parent feels terrible now when they drop their child off in the nearly empty playground as all the other students are home sick.
I am annoyed with the parent that made that decision. But I understand that sometimes there isn’t really a choice.