It’s So Nice to Be Needed.

Dylan was sick. He had that flu that’s been going around, the same one that I had a month ago.

It comes on – WHAM! – and hits with almost no warning, knocking down its victim suddenly with fever. Then it hangs around for several days until finally, one day, you can sit up.

At some point, if you’re lucky, the congestion that’s been sitting like a boulder on your lungs starts to move and you start coughing. Eventually, a few weeks after that, it’s gone entirely.

At the end of Flu Day 2 for Dylan, he came into my room and woke me up at 5:00 in the morning – something he hasn’t done in years.

“Mom?” he said in the darkness. His voice was so raspy and quiet, I almost didn’t understand the word “mom.”

I reached out instinctively for his forehead, checked his cheeks. Still warm.

“What’s wrong?”

“When I cough, it really hurts,” he choked. “I feel like I’m going to cough up blood or something.”

Dylan has something called Reactive Airways Disease – a rare disorder we discovered when he was very young. Basically it means that when he gets a cold, it stays in his chest and makes it hard for him to breathe. He never got a runny nose like other kids – just a deep, disturbing cough that lasted from September through April.

The thought popped up immediately: that Dylan might be one of the kids I’d heard about on the news. He might need to be hospitalized for respiratory issues associated with the flu.

But I shot down the thought, and leapt out of bed. “Let’s get you some medicine,” I said calmly. We measured out three teaspoons of children’s Motrin, since a sore throat makes pill-swallowing that much more difficult.

His voice, still barely audible, croaked out, “Is there anything else we can do? It really hurts.”

“Let’s try some honey,” I said. We went downstairs and heated up some honey. While he was sipping at the spoon, I hopped onto the computer.

I googled “natural remedies sore throat” – and was reminded what to do.

“I want you to gargle with some salt water,” I told him. And I made some warm, salty water to soothe his throat.

Then we headed back upstairs, quietly, still in the dark.

“Can I do anything else for you?” I asked. “Or are you ready to get some more rest?”

“I’m okay,” he croaked. “And Mom?”


“Thanks for being the good mom,” he said. “A lot of people might have been a lot more aggressive in the middle of the night. So thanks.”

I almost cried. It’s so nice to be needed.

“Anytime, Buddy,” I told him. “It’s my job. Wake me up again if you need me later.”

And we both went back to bed.


  1. Lorrie Roth says:

    So Kir, do you need anymore confirmation or NOW will you believe that you are a good MOM?
    Merry Christmas, that is the world’s best gift a Mom can get ever!

    • Kirsten says:

      Thanks, Lorrie! I don’t know how it happened, but somehow none of the comments showed up on my end until today – for the past several weeks! Catching up now, and this is a wonderful reminder. 🙂

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