Earlier this month, Lamar and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary. By celebrated, I mean he rode his bike all day and Cole and I watched cartoons and made cupcakes.
Lamar did thank me for not stabbing him over the past decade. I told him it had been hard but I had managed. It was somehow covered by the ‘death til we part’ part of the whole thing.
Then last week, the most horrific of things that could happen to a married woman happened. Lamar got a cold.
Not just a cold, but a summer cold, which we all know is far worse than any regular run of the mill middle-of-winter cold.
And he was a male, therefore making a summer cold a gazillion to the times of pi worse than anything ever conceived.
I have had two major procedures since we’ve been married. The day after I came home from the first one – having Cole – we went to walk off a building to turn in a bid while Granny watched the baby. So here I was, just a few days post C-section, walking some building that was the size of a city block with stitches and a missing morphine drip.
The day I came home from the second procedure, Lamar took off on the bike while I was in the shower and told Mama when he got back, he’d go to the store. When he did, he thought a bag of dog food and a box of Little Debbie’s constituted ‘groceries.’ I promptly made him take me back.
Now, here he was, with a cold. You would think the world was grinding to a halt. Hallmark needs a card just for man-sickness.
He was close to being stabbed. Or shanked. Or somehow put out of his misery.
But did I complain? No. I didn’t even fuss. Not once. I did maybe roll my eyes when I got him a glass of water.
What it is about men that when they get sick they turn into a bunch of babies? Even the toughest, strongest, biggest men are pitiful. And here was Lamar, someone who thinks riding a bicycle up mountain climbs for hours is fun and has worked hard, physical labor most of his life but could succumb to the effects of a cold. I didn’t get it.
I asked Mama to pray for me.
“I always do, Kitten,” she said, concern growing in her voice at my request. “What’s wrong?”
“Lamar’s got a cold, Mama,” I said simply. No further explanation was needed. Mama wasn’t a fool.
“I hope he feels better soon. A summer cold can be quite rough.” Her voice relayed her empathy and understanding of the situation.
“Mama, I don’t get it. Why is it a man gets sick and they become the world’s biggest babies but a woman gets sick, she doesn’t get that luxury?”
“That’s the way it’s always been,” Mama explained. “And unfortunately, a lot of it goes back to when those men were little boys and how their mama’s took care of him. I am sure Lamar’s mother probably doted on him when he was sick. You know for a lot of children, being sick can be a fun time – they stay home from school, get their mother’s sole attention. Do you think that’s what happened?”
I wasn’t sure and I doubted that was the case here. Where did Mama get this Freudian approach to man-sickness?
“What do you do when Cole is sick?” Mama asked.
I take care of him – take him to the doctor, make him soup, let him watch his cartoons, give him ginger ale, make sure all the pigs of Piglandia are in the bed with him, let him download a new video game to play. I made sure he was comfy and taken care of.
Sweet, sweet son of a biscuit eater.
“Oh, Mama….” I began. “Are all men like this? Is it all their mother’s fault?”
“Probably,” she answered for both counts.
I may be perpetuating a vicious cycle and not realize it. It looked like it was indeed the fault of the mother. Of course it was; wasn’t everything?
“It’s still not fair,” I stated. “If I get sick or have something, no one takes care of me.”
“I would if you let me,” she replied, “but you don’t let me.”
“So what should I do, Mama?” I asked.
Mama, in all her words of wisdom, with all her compassion, her empathy, her understanding told me what only a mama can say: Suck it up, buttercup.
I sighed and hung up. Cole was saying he thought he was getting what his Daddy had. Did I get ginger ale when I went to the store Friday? Where was Piggy?
Hallmark is really missing out on a killing here.