It’s very likely that my kid just sneezed on the same toy that your kid is now licking. Welcome to day care.
“Daycare centers are great, they keep me in business,” quipped my pediatrician. He wasn’t being glib. It sounds somewhat harsh, but it is true, daycare centers literally help keep his daily clinic schedule full. Besides providing care for children and sanity for working parents, day care centers are productive boot camps for the immune system. (Look at me focusing on the positive side, as our household continues to sniffle for weeks on end). My hubs is a school teacher, so he is ahead of the game. He has an immune system of steel, the result of daily exposure to little germ factories year after year.
Oh, yes, the familiar feeling of swollen glands, achiness, fatigue, and the consequent reach for pain reliever. Yes, I know, Lysol, water, vitamins, hand washing. I actively support all 4. It is loving on my own little germ factories that I can’t relent on. This morning my baby gave me a drool-mixed-with-runny-nose-open mouthed kiss (intentionally) and my pre-ker coughed in my face (unintentionally). It was both a little bit gross and par for the course. I could recoil but I don’t, because deep down, I am grateful to be that close to them.
When I was growing up, I consistently pondered a mystery in life – even when one of them had a head cold, my parents would always kiss “hello” each evening. I would think, “how silly, Mommy is going to get Daddy’s cold or vice versa.” Now that I am married and raising my own family, I totally get it and relish that simple observation (my parents have been married for several decades –there might be something to that kiss!) . 1 Peter 4:8 says that love covers over a multitude of sins. I think love also makes up for some germs. I’m not saying let’s all go lick the pavement, but when you see loved ones-much less ones in your immediate brood- how can you not cover them with love – germs and all?
With each dose of cold medicine, I get a dose of reality: I will only have unexplainably, adorably cute baby cheeks to kiss for a limited time. Because then they grow into grubby toddler checks – which are still quite kissable but sometimes you don’t know what that is. Elementary, middle, and high school sized cheeks are harder to kiss – particularly in public.
So, in the meantime, when I pass you in the drop off line, fellow daycare Mom, and we both have that “glossed over, someone put me out of my misery” look, it is simply that we are sharing an affliction from whatever germs our kids are swapping. Just another way you and I are inextricably bonded.
It’ll be alright, please just pass the tissues.