Together In Sickness

A year from now, what will I wish I had done today?” – unknown

This week of my family coming down with a cold has made me think of attitudes about getting sick. Rina, my best friend in college, was the first person I learned from that being sick could be fun. From her stories, I gathered that her mother made the days she had to be home sick to be like spa days with lots of good food, sympathy and glossy magazines. Rina is Finnish and I’ve wondered if this particular way to embrace sick time is cultural.

By contrast in my family when you were sick, you stayed in bed, had no special privileges and if you were sick in the morning, you had to be sick all day so you couldn’t go play with your friends in the afternoon, even if you felt better. It was an experience designed to make sure there was no psychological advantage to being sick. In our house of Protestant productivity, being sick and the resulting impact on our usefulness was to be avoided at all costs.

So I find myself torn when my kids have to stay home from school because they are sick. On one hand I want to enjoy the break from routine and sympathetically help them feel better. On the other hand, it usually represents a stress to my work productivity that I have a hard time setting aside. But more than that, it goes against the grain of the self-worth as measured by productivity that was ingrained in me from the early days.

When I heard of the word hygge (pronounced hooga) it made me think of Rina and her mom. Hygge is a Danish word without any direct translation to English but according to this article on Quartz, has a meaning that encompasses both coziness and togetherness. It makes me think of that warmth that comes from deep companionship through better and worse.

The warmth of that word and idea, combined with my sense that being together should be celebrated in a family plus the lack of compassion I have for myself when I’m sick has spurred me to try to forge a new path for my little family when we are sick. I’ll probably never be able to reform so much that I drop everything, buy glossy magazines and bath bombs but I think a little fun and great food to help make it through when we feel crummy is worth aiming for. May it bring a sense of hygge to us, especially when we aren’t feeling well.

(featured photo from Pexels)

10 thoughts on “Together In Sickness

  1. I definitely feel you on this, Wynne. Growing up and even as an adult, I definitely had the mentality if you took a sick day off school or work, you had to be suffering all day. Can’t be like a spa day. I’m of the Rina and Finnish mentality now. Sometimes being relaxed happy and having fun really is part of the recovery itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to know that it’s possible to switch the experience as you have. I think you are so right – it has got to aid in the recovery. Hope that was the case with your recent food poisoning! I have no idea how you manage to comment so wisely on every post but I appreciate you reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was brought up like you. If you’re too sick to go to school, you stay in bed and concentrate on getting well, nothing else. I raised my own son the same way. I actually didn’t mind this wisdom as a child or a parent either.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing!!.. “Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come”. (Author Unknown), I find it best to follow my heart, rarely go wrong…. 🙂

    Until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing, and really brings back memories of me being absent in school just because I was sick and not enjoying it because I can’t see my friends. Today I appreciate every rest and always am a little happy if I got off from work because I’m sick

    Liked by 1 person

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