To All Parents, During Cold and Flu Season


Do you even remember? Probably not.

You’ve spent the last…you don’t even remember how long, holding trash cans out for tiny people, wiping noses, refilling the humidifier and spraying Lysol on every bare surface in your home. Which means that the fog in your brain is thicker than peanut butter.

Are you to the point where you are ready to hire a witch doctor? You’re on the phone and you’re calling a priest to come and anoint your home with a cross and some oil. You’re looking into payment plans so that you can buy everyone a hazmat suit for the months from October to March so that you don’t have to keep suffering through this every fall and winter.

Please. For the love. No more germs.

We just battled a stomach bug through Christmas. I spent the holiday lurched over a toilet, crying at the cruelty of some kind of virus. I was prepared to put a hit out on whoever infected me. I white knuckled it through the gift opening before I slunk back to my bedroom and holed myself up for two days of misery.

I realize that the older my kiddos get, the easier this season of germs and Tylenol becomes for us. Even just the tiniest bit.

I remember last year, though, when we had the flu. It was nearly a week and a half solid of high fevers, red tinged cheeks and glassy eyed children who couldn’t sleep. Children who cried because there was nothing else to do except for lay on the sofa and feel miserable.

By the end of nearly ten days of unrelenting illness, and after having sickness somewhere in our home off and on for the months before that, I felt like I had just trained for the Olympics after climbing Everest.

I know the days well where a seemingly inconsequential runny nose turned into a high fever and cancelled plans two days later. Then it became an ear infection. Then bronchitis and clearing the schedule for the whole week – including that date night that we had been waiting two weeks for. Then the nebulizer got drug out, and we had to hold little arms down to even be able to rest the plastic mask on their face.

You can’t reason with children. You can’t get them to understand how one little thing might give them even the tiniest bit of relief. Everything that is normally a battle pales in comparison to the child who won’t even let you drape a cool rag on their forehead or who screams through a tepid bath at 4 a.m.

While the rest of the world enjoyed crisp fall days, or snowy winter afternoons out to lunch, I’ve been holed up at home, smelling my own funk because I couldn’t even remember the last time I showered, trying to battle a toddler to get even a millimeter of water in them.

How can a minor cold that I never used to give two thoughts to become the undoing of me and all sanity and reason in the world???!

I remember being out at 11 p.m. to dinner with friends. Now, I’m out at 11 p.m., walking through Walgreens in my three days old pajamas, buying Tylenol and powdered donuts while other shoppers stare at me like I’m a Sasquatch. I’ll tell you though, nothing builds self confidence faster than realizing that you don’t really care if two dozen other adults see you looking like you just got done raving at Coachella in the sweats you bought at Wal Mart.


Ashley LeCompte
Ashley LeCompte
Ashley LeCompte is a Jesus follower, the wife to a Marine vet and a sometimes disorganized but usually joyful mother to three kids. Save for a brief sojourn in San Diego, she has spent her life in the cornfields of rural Maryland. Her pet peeves include chronically high grocery bills, everything children do with toothpaste, and people at Starbucks who take too long to order. She's armed with a sense of humor, her minivan and a cup of coffee. In her free time, she enjoys photography, reading novels and eating chocolate frosting straight out of the container. Ashley blogs at This Heart.

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