Sometimes ‘Sick’ Doesn’t Have to be Physical

Shaya has called me sick from school many times, with a hurting tummy. Since he was two, this kid has had a sensitive stomach and neither I nor the doctor can figure out why.

Usually, the call comes after lunch – when something, or someone, happened. The anxiety does turn into excretion, and then he’s fine. So I pick him up, he runs to our bathroom at home, and after his business is finished, he’s happy as can be.

As a mother, I try to help  him handle his emotions so it doesn’t turn into stomach upset. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I do not.

Yesterday, the call came before lunch, and because he’s on an antibiotic from being sick last weekend, I figured the stomach upset had to do simply with that.

I realized quite quickly that the stomach roiling had more to do with missing mom than anything else.

So Shaya came home and ate his lunch beside me and he was fine. We went to yoga together, as I do every Friday, and he was fine. He accompanied me to a meet-up with a writer friend, and he was fine.

He was incredibly happy actually.

At school dismissal, a friend said, “Wow, you’re a nicer mom than I would be.” Maybe so. I did feel a little guilty for letting him miss the afternoon of school.

But then I talked myself out of the guilt. He’s 6 years old. It’s perfectly understandable to need “Mommy time.” If we don’t fill that need now, it’ll never be filled.

In yoga, he practiced on his mat beside mine and about three-quarters of the way through the class, I felt two little bony arms wrap around my middle in a fierce hug.

The best moment of my entire day. Maybe the entire week.

And I knew then that his afternoon was exactly as it had to be, and we were both better for it.

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