When I think back on my childhood and the moments I remember with my mom, I actually have a fondness for the days I stayed home sick. I remember sitting in the den watching television with all my stuffed animals and blankets piled around me on the couch, sleeping off a bad cold in my mom’s bed (which I always found way more comfortable than my own) and sipping warm coffee with my mom in the kitchen, both clad in our pajamas, late at night, when I couldn’t fall asleep.

I know a kid with coffee sounds strange (particularly at night!), but I hated milk, so my mom used to make a pot of decaf, pour a splash in a mug with mostly warm milk (just enough to change the color from white to tan) and then add sugar, hoping that the warm liquid would help me relax and make it easier to fall asleep. I thought it tasted delicious and remember it making me feel very grown-up.

I have so many memories of the things my mom did for me when I was sick.

I remember her pouring me warm baths because I always felt better after.

I remember her coming home with chicken soup from my favorite deli.

I remember her rubbing Vicks VapoRub on my chest at night when I was congested, the familiar smell seeping up into my nostrils. Then just a few minutes later, noticing how I’d start to breathe easier and be able to fall asleep.

I remember the sticky spoonfuls of grape cough syrup and the honey cough drops my mom kept in her purse.

I remember sitting on her lap in our steamy bathroom.

I remember eating ice cream to soothe a sore throat.

I remember her pressing “cold compresses” on my forehead and the laugh we had when I said, “Mom? Isn’t a cold compress just a wet paper towel?”

But most of all, I remember just being home, spending the day with her. Nothing on the agenda, work and school set aside. Just feeling comforted by her presence, her telling me stories while she stroked my forehead or tickled my back.

It’s interesting to think back nostalgically on the times I was sick. My memories aren’t really about how badly I felt or how tough my cold was to get over, it’s more about how my mom took care of me and made me feel better. It’s a memory of feeling loved and looked after.

In contrast, when I think about the times that Mazzy and Harlow have gotten sick, I think about the tears and the piles of snotty tissues. Being constantly woken up by Mazzy moaning through a stuffed nose and praying she doesn’t wake up Harlow too. Harlow climbing into our bed complaining about an ear ache and then keeping us all up through the night. To be perfectly honest, having a sick kid is pretty torturous for parents. It makes me realize that the “coffee” and the Vicks VapoRub that my mom gave me were as much for her benefit as it was for mine. They helped quiet my cough so she could get a good night’s sleep too.

There are also nice moments to remember about Mazzy and Harlow’s sick days. Like the time we all snuggled on the couch with a big box of tissues and watched a guilt-free movie marathon until we passed out in one big nap all together. I give extra long hugs, back tickles and stroke their hair just like my mom did to me.

I wonder if my own kids will look back and remember sick days as fondly as I remember them from my childhood.

I wonder if my mom looks back on our sick days together fondly too.

What sick day rituals do you remember from your childhood? Did your mom use Vicks VapoRub?


This post was sponsored by Vicks VapoRub, the #1 pediatrician recommended cough rub which safe cough relief for kids age 2 and above and is clinically proven to reduce coughs. VapoRub’s medicated vapors last up to 8 hours to help parentss and children get cough relief so they can get sleep.