Yesterday I started coughing like a barking seal. My head was stuffy. My ears were full and my throat was raw and scratchy.
Claire said, “Mom, you don’t look like you feel well” as I puttered around in the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher, putting things away and coughing into my elbow.
I nodded as a sneeze wound its way into my nasal passages and said, “You’re right, Claire. I don’t feel well at all.” Ahhhh-CHOO!
Claire kept looking at me and said, “Can I fix you a cup of tea? I think that’s what you need.”
Oh, would I ever like a cup of tea! That would be fabulous! My heart swelled with an offer so sweet.
He came meandering into the kitchen right around the time Claire produced my cup of sweetness. “Hey, Mama! I’m hungry. Can you fix me something to eat,” he asked as I stood by my cup of tea and hacking up half a lung. I told him there were three DiGorno pizzas outside in the freezer and he was welcome to bake one. He gave me a pouty face, stuck out his bottom lip and put on his best puppy dog eyes for me. He didn’t stop to look at me or hear the barking seal sounds coming out of me. He wanted food, he wanted immediately and he wanted me to fix it.
“That’s a no can do, Zach. I don’t have the energy or the desire to feed you right now. Right now all I want to do is to sit down with this cup of tea your sister fixed me. Right now, I just want to relax,” I told him. But he didn’t stop the assault. He kept trying to guilt me into getting his lunch on a plate in front of him.
I’m happy to say I didn’t cave and fix Zach’s lunch yesterday. But I’m a little mortified that he would be so persistent in trying to persuade me to get him something to eat when I obviously didn’t feel well. So I offer a blanket apology to his future wife. I know she’ll curse me all the sick days of her life when all she wants is a cup of tea and a quiet place to sit and Zach can’t see what she really needs.
Claire’s future husband, on the other hand, will be on cloud nine with someone who is almost instantly aware of the feelings and ailments of others.
Lucas is somewhere in between. He’s willing and able to take care of himself. He doesn’t demand that his needs come before the others, but he’s also not out there asking what he can do for someone who isn’t feeling their best.
I know there are innate differences between boys and girls, men and women. But I have to wonder if I made these differences worse by not demanding more out of Zach and asking less out of Claire. Or is the difference simply a product of their widely varying personalities? I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I do know that anyone, anywhere would love to be pampered just a little when they don’t feel well. I have much work to do with Zach and Lucas. I don’t want their future wives to be impacted by this massive difference. I want the boys to also be able to offer a cup of tea, quiet place to sit and a little tender loving care when someone isn’t feeling well.
Oh, for the love of my children…