By Jennifer Bardsley Herald Columnist
I haven’t seen my children in two days.
That’s because I spent all of yesterday with my cheek on the bathroom floor. Today I’ve graduated to my bed, but have vowed to burn these pajamas. I just need to get over the stomach flu first.
The other members of my family are thankfully still healthy. That’s why I’m in quarantine.
My husband has been bringing me Sprite and Gatorade, which I look at and sometimes consume. I’m very proud of myself for eating a Popsicle. (It feels like something to brag about.)
I’m healthy enough now that I’ve recovered my power of thought. It hurts my eyes to watch television, so mainly I’ve been staring at the bedroom wall. Looking for pictures in the knock-down texture is as much excitement as I can handle at the moment.
I’ve been thinking that I can really relate to Bertha Mason, the crazy lady locked upstairs in Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 classic, “Jane Eyre.”
I’m definitely feeling the crazy part, but my husband is a whole lot nicer than Mr. Rochester. He even made me rice pudding because I asked for it specifically. Then when I only ate three bites, he wasn’t even upset.
Probably the reason I’ve been thinking about Bertha Mason is because there is something about the stomach flu that takes you to dark, Gothic places like in a Bronte sister’s novel.
It’s the point that comes when you are on the bathroom floor praying, but you’re not sure what you are praying for.
The humbling thing about the stomach flu is that I was only really sick for about 24 hours. For at least six of those hours, I was so sick that I forgot every good thing in my life.
That’s what I mean about Gothic darkness. I am not old, I am not a child. Yet it only took six hours for the stomach flu to totally crush me and part me from my senses.
But if the stomach flu brings you to dark places, it also makes you see the light ones more clearly. I am so lucky that my children are healthy. I am so thankful my husband was here to take care of me.
Our family is so fortunate to have health care. (I can’t wait for everyone to have that.)
Now in hour 48 of the stomach flu, I have turned the corner. Tomorrow morning when I wake up I will hopefully be germ-free. I will put on my gray dress (or maybe my purple one) and be ready to mother again.
To help my son with his homework, to read a book to my daughter, to watch my husband go back to work: That is a good day.
I don’t care if it’s cold. I don’t mind if it rains. The freezing fog won’t bother me.
To eat porridge, to drink milk, to cook dinner for my family: That is pure light itself.
And if I can drink coffee again, that will be beautiful.
Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmy babytoread.blog.com.