Small is ill.
It’s nothing huge. He has tonsilitis and a cold on top of that. He streams snot as he has a cold. He streams dribble as he just can’t swallow very well – his throat hurts we think. After he’s been sat up for more than 40 minutes I have to change his top as it’s sodden. Every time I pick him up for a cuddle I have to change my top because, well… yuck. Thank goodness for our washer/dryer.
So far, so normal for a 3 year old you think.
But there is something else. Some tiny panic that I don’t recall having with Big.
Every time Small gets sick, a little piece of me worries he will die.
I have no reason to think this. He’s a very healthy boy, and it’s been a long time since he’s been hospitalised. That sick feeling I had? I remember that vividly. I remember the ambulance journey we took because the febrile convulsion he’d had had paniced the life out of us and made us call 999 but this was over a year ago.
These feelings stay ingrained and every time Small gets ill, and after I’ve checked Calpol stocks, I mentally run through:
Where’s the suitcase?
Is my phone charged?
Is there childcare cover for Big?
I do this because… because he is not a normal 3 year old. Because he cannot tell me where it hurts, I can only guess. Because I am never so sure it is ‘just’ anything. Just maybe, just perhaps, this is a manifestation of his swan-ness, of this syndrome he has, that is so rare noone knows what it is, maybe this will trigger something bad.
I’m sure also this is wrapped up in how much my fierce love for Small has grown. At the start of our journey with Small, when we first discovered all was not well and every single day was black, there were many days I would wake up hoping he had died, because surely that would be better for all of us? But now, now the thought of it catches my breath in my throat with the awfulness of it, the sheer panic it induces is overwhelming. And so…
And so you are right, I’m almost certainly being ridiculous, being that over-worrying mother. Yet every time this happens. Every time I have to check myself.