Spring break was the first week of March this year. The Thursday before, the night before my daughter’s final ski day and their first day of vacation, I get home to find my youngest on her father’s lap complaining of a headache. We notice a spot on her forehead and I ask her to pull up her shirt so I can see her belly. Sure enough, little red spots were blooming before our eyes. I looked into my daughter’s face again, and already I could see more spots.
Now this daughter was sad and disappointed and cried more about having to miss her ski trip than in the four days it took her to get over the pox. Luckily, for the first time ever, I had the week off as well (the many benefits of working in a school) so I didn’t have to take much time off work (just that one Friday afternoon). I was hoping against hope that my oldest would get it as well, making it so both my daughters got the pox and I didn’t even have to sacrifice one sick day!
Now wouldn’t that have been a lovely world to live in?
Because my eldest was determined to not get the chicken pox until the Monday when she had to go back to school. She was so sure she would get them then, that Sunday she spent the day inspecting her body for spots. When Monday came around and there were no pox to be seen (except for the scabs on her sister) her disappointment was palpable. She was grumpy and sad and just didn’t want to go to school. As the good parents we are, we forced her to go, telling her that she couldn’t just get it by wanting it.
Boy, was I wrong. I get a phone call the next day from the school saying that my daughter is really not feeling well. She has a stomach ache, apparently. Both my husband and I work so we had to make one of those convoluted plans to go get her. As the school I work at was still on Spring Break and it was just me and the IT person around, she could spend the day with me in the library.
I have to admit, that at this point I was very frustrated with my daughter. I thought that her symptoms were a product of her violent reticence to go back to school. But then again, that morning she had seemed in good spirits…
So my daughter comes to the library and tells me that she has a spot on her shoulder. I look at it, but it could have been anything. A pimple, a small discoloration of the skin. It didn’t look too much like a pox. But then a little later I look at her belly and there is no denying it. The small spots are growing. She gave herself the chicken pox. Okay, okay. Her sister probably gave her the chicken pox, but who cares? She got them and she got them good.
By Thursday, she had them all over her face, on her eyelids, on her ears, all over her back, stomach and legs. She even had one in the exact center of the palm of her hand, a disturbing chicken pox stigmata. And she was sick through out. By the time Friday came, my husband had to take a day off work and stay home with her as she was even too sick to come to work with me. She was itchy, tired, nauseous. The novelty of the pox wore off pretty quickly. She only started feeling better by Sunday, when the wounds started to crust over just in time for school.
The moral of this story is very cliché: If you wish for the pox, you might actually get the pox.
Oh and… Thank god I didn’t make any plans for spring break…