In 46 BC, just a couple years before the arrogant and power-hungry Roman Emperor Julius Caesar had a really bad day in mid March, he decided to tackle the problem of the Roman calendar. Before then, years were measured by lunar cycle, a system that led to the need for the occasional addition of an extra month and, frankly, confused the heck out of everyone.
Consulting with Egyptian astronomer Sosigenes, Caesar learned that it would make a great deal more sense to measure a year as 365 days, add a leap day every fourth year, and rename one of the twelve months (July) in honor of himself, because when you’ve managed to get yourself declared “emperor perpetuity” of a republic (as every fan of Star Wars and/or history knows), you can do pretty much whatever you want to.
Even though the calendar was still a little off (about eleven minutes every year), and would eventually be revised by Pope Gregory XIII (which also confused the heck out of everyone), the concept is still used today. And that’s why this stupid February, which has been a stressful one at our house, will be one stupid day longer this year.
Okay, so it might not actually be February’s fault, but all I know is that in January, everyone in my family was in perfect health. Then with the new month came the crud. My oldest was the first victim. He missed nearly a week of school because of fever and respiratory symptoms (No, not the flu. And yes, we vaccinate.). This week it struck my younger son. And in between, it hit me.
Now, when kids are sick, we obviously do what we need to do. We keep them home from school, entrenched on the couch with a box of tissues, a bottle of Gatorade, and a stack of movies. We pile on the blankets, monitor temperatures, and fret over medication schedules. We rub backs, kiss foreheads, and soothe heartache over missed activities.
That’s all well and good. But when Mom gets sick, it’s different. Because even at home, there are still things that must be taken care of. This is likely the reason that I have been symptomatic at least five days longer than son # 1 was, and why my own battle with the crud, though it started almost a week earlier, has lasted well into that of son #2.
It really was beginning to look like I might cough and hack my way to the very end of this stupid month. Fortunately I married a wise man, who I finally decided to listen to (possibly because I couldn’t talk for all the coughing). He insisted that I take a day off.
Now, I work from home, which means taking a day off can be tricky because I’m pretty much always at work. But he was clear. No dishes and no laundry (no problem so far) and no writing. Wait. What?
One day of rest, both physical and mental.
My youngest son was still home so I did have to see to his needs. But it turned out, his disappointment at having to miss another day of school and activities was somewhat soothed by the idea that Mom was in it with him. We piled up the blankets, shared a big box of tissues, and settled in for a day of movie watching.
By the next day, we both felt a lot better. He headed off to school. I headed back to my computer, healthier, and wiser, and grateful that the end of this longest shortest month ever is finally in sight. No, February is not my favorite month with its cold dreary days, but it’s still short even when it’s long, and I suppose this year, I should be thankful it has a built-in sick day.