When my Mom asked me to come and "watch" my siblings while she and her husband were out of town, my answer was a resounding "yes," as it always is. I of course realized my role in this capacity had changed as I was no longer "babysitting" but rather expecting to referee and make sure both children (and the house) lived through the experience. All plans for fun went out the window as Mallory came down with an inexplicable rash and a temperature. Coming from a medical family, we do not go to the doctor for much, but this was perplexing.
Back to taking care of the ill. I never thought about how often you end up going to the same store as Mallory went through more cravings than a pregnant woman. Good for Ryan and I as I got to give him plenty of practice driving his new stick shift car. By the end of the weekend I had been to Publix no fewer than a dozen times in three days. Spent hours at the clinic on Saturday only to meet the lamest doctor ever, who not only could not provide an answer, he really didn't seem that interested in actually examining her. This lead to an even more frustrated teen who could only think about how she wanted to be better. That accompanied with Mallory complaining about being there, like this was some sort of picnic for me? A new respect for all parents out there. Not only do you have to suffer through your own illnesses but everyone else's...ick!
On one of the many trips to the market I learned what taking a teenage boy to the grocery store meant. I couldn't believe how much junk he could throw in the cart as I only turned down the medicine aisle for a moment. When I questioned the hot pockets he said he didn't like the bagels Mom had purchased because it was "pre-packaged, pre-cooked food." And in fifteen year old speak that sentence makes sense. This led to one of the nicest brother/sister moments I saw as Ryan ran into Mallory's sick haven to show how he had picked up her cinnamon toast Eggos. A moment of sweetness. Followed by a "get out of here and leave me alone." Short lived but still cute.
Today, Mallory finally made it out of her funk and I dragged her out of the house because I had to go SOMEWHERE. We did spend another 2 hours in the doctor's office which has dictated we spend more time at the lab and xray locations tomorrow, but at least we were outside for a chunk of the day. My sis seemed to be back to her "almost" self until the nurse announced she had a temperature of 102 and we were forced to wait longer. She quickly regressed to a "whoa is me" cry, but I had become immune. Good at the fake smile and the rubbing of her head so she couldn't see me making a list of the things I would rather be doing in my head. A little Tylenol and she was back to normal which became a "be careful what you wish for" moment once Ryan got home from school. They were back to constant arguing in no time flat. I have to say it made me wish for a reason to keep one of them in a locked room all the time. Maybe Rapunzel was just the unlucky sister who was sent to be on her own for the sanity of others. You think they flipped a coin?
The question I am left with, is it better to suffer through a slightly needy child in order to offer some modicum of peace and a sweet, cuddly teen or is it better to suffer the 70 decibel arguments over whose friends are better and why the other one is totally given special treatment? Anyone have an answer? No, I didn't think so. What I do know is this is going to be one of those trips I remember forever. Not anything that we planned but a bonding moment full of laughter through tears and frustration. Bonding through being locked up together and ultimately a lucky older sister who got to be here for it all. I did still leave a message for Lisa who is planning on having children in the next year or so..."In 2026 remember this message as I dance a jig around you singing a chorus of I told you so!" Maybe I will borrow her teens too in case I have forgotten the message.