When I was a little girl sick days were a mixed bag of good and bad.

First, you woke up feeling sick. That’s bad.

Then you realized you might get a delicious day off from everyday life. And better yet, a day off alone! Your siblings would still have to go to school. Mmm, peace and quiet. That’s good.

Maybe there was a math test you were missing. Really good!

Then, at our house, you got to bring your favorite pillow down to the couch and get all snuggily tucked in there with extra blankets. Mmm, so good. Your siblings would sneer at you as they left. Tee hee hee.

Then my mother had this amazing magic trick of conjuring up English muffins and ginger ale even though there had been no evidence of these things being in the house previously. Did she have a secret storage locker down in the basement behind the washing machine for just such occasions? I don’t know, but whatever. It was wonderful.

And then you got to watch whatever you wanted on TV. This was no small thing in a house of six people, one of whom (that would be my dad) was rabidly anti-TV. But he was at work so woo-hoo! Unless you were actually doubled over and vomiting up intestines, it didn’t get much better than this.

But this is where the mixed bag came in. It was the 1980’s. There were only three networks and absolutely NO children’s daytime programming. Well, Sesame Street, but, whatever.

Your little nine-year-old self watched some news. Bad.

Then maybe a game show. Badder.

Nothing to do but ask for another muffin. Better hope you didn’t leave the good book you were reading at school. You did. In the house there were only the books you had already read and those you hoped never to read.

You’d try to nap. Tick tock, tick tock. Tick tock.

By about 11:30 you wondered if you had made a mistake. What were the other kids doing right now? Wasn’t today the day the bird lady was coming in? Ooooh, was that today??

Tick tock, tick tock.

You try the TV again. Soap Operas. Bad.

Tick Tock.

It got to the point that you would actually look forward to the other kids getting home. Then they would call to ask is it okay if they go over to Jody’s? Everyone is going. Jody got a new air hockey table and her mom is making brownies. And popcorn.


“Sure,” my mom would say. “Just drop your sister’s school work on the way by so she doesn’t get behind.”

Bad, bad, bad.

Are there any muffins left?

The day ends with you having to go to bed before everyone else.

See what I mean about the mixed bag? A kid would have to be really, REALLY sick, or completely nuts about English muffins to sign up for that two days in a row. I think my mother prided herself on how quickly she could get us back on our feet. Bored into wellness, I say.

Anyway, Ma, thanks for the muffins. They were good.

If you have a sick buddy at home, and chances are you do with all of the stuff going around, here is a really terrific list of books about sick days that he might enjoy. Hopefully, not too much.

good bear

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