I’ve had a weird virus thing this summer, it’s been going on for a few weeks now, and it’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t being ill. It’s also hard to imagine a future when I will have any energy or be able to focus on anything ever again.
I have a new empathy for parents who face chronic illness as a fact of life. It’s not that I don’t like sitting down a lot – I’m quite a fan – but this is my season for being outdoors getting lots of fresh air and exercise – it’s when I usually get fit and I’m worried that without that my motor will gradually run down and splutter to a complete halt during the winter months.
My children’s lives, on the other hand, go on as normal, and it’s like watching a film as opposed to playing an interactive computer game. Vagueness is my new parenting skill. Let’s see how they thrive on that! Pretty well so far – to be honest I don’t think they’ve really noticed any difference.
Being ill, I am unable to keep tabs on them, I am unable to keep up-to-date details about their four lives in my head, I keep forgetting what they are doing, what their schedules are, who their friends are. ‘What? Who?’ I say a lot, in confusion. I’m vaguely hoping they don’t think it’s because I don’t care about them.
‘Show an interest in your children’s lives’ is the bit of parenting advice that seems to assert itself at times like this – there’s always a bit of parenting advice for every occasion isn’t there, and it always pops up when you’re not doing it.
So being ill has forced me to go with the flow, relax, chill and happily assume that everything will be fine. It’s time to take my own advice and really embrace it and live it fully, because this is a time when, without effort, I truly feel qualified. Sometimes it’s just nice to have the decision taken away from you by being rendered incapable of doing anything else.