by Kelli Mulloy
The alarm rings, and I wake to another school day. I lie there convincing my eyes to open and my body to move, and I wonder, “What will today be like?” I pray my young daughter will feel better, that her headache will not be bad and that she slept. Maybe even just that she will not cry when she wakes up and break my heart. I have been praying these prayers for so long, but nothing changes. It is the same almost every morning, so as I rise, I just pray for strength, for patience, for grace and for courage.
When most parents get their kids up in the morning, it is a mad rush for showers, breakfast, last-minute homework, backpacks and lunches. Oh, how I yearn for the normalcy of the pre-school morning routine. For my daughter, who struggles with primary immunodeficiency, each day is another morning with her head congested, her lungs full of mucus, her eyes gritty and swollen shut. Her head will pound, and she will want to sleep longer.
“Please Mommy, just let me sleep one more hour! I was up four times last night, I am so tired, please Mommy!”
“Honey, you have to get up and go to school let’s turn on the shower and get you under the warm flow of water, and you will feel better.”
“No, I’m tired, I feel awful, you hate me and you don’t know how bad I feel.”
“I know, but you can’t miss another day of school. Come on, I brought you some mint tea to drink in the shower and some ibuprofen. Come on, I know it’s hard, but you can do it.”
I coax and cajole her into the shower, and she sits on the floor. The shower, tea and ibuprofen combine to convince her that school is at least doable.
This is how she starts her day, 75 percent of the time. In my daughter’s case, her immune system does not protect her from respiratory viruses. She has what is known as an IgG deficiency. She gets a weekly infusion of immune globulin to boost her immune system, and this has been very successful in keeping her viruses from becoming infections. It has also virtually eliminated her frequent bouts with pneumonia. However, it does not keep her from contracting those annoying respiratory viruses that make mornings such a challenge. It also does not make it easier to get her out of bed.
I’m trying to find the balance between, “You can’t miss more school!” and “I feel too awful, and I can’t sit at school with a headache and stuffy nose.” As a parent, it is a balance that I have yet to figure out.
How do you handle difficult mornings?