The mother instinct

I thought he was kidding when his Facebook page said he had mono, so I didn’t call.

So tonight I called my youngest to say hello and found out he had mono. He’s tired and cranky and depressed at not being able to do much of anything, and lonely since his wife’s away on business. He can’t even go to the gym, because the exertion might rupture his spleen.

“Oh honey, I’m so sorry,” I said.

“Mom, it’s no big deal, I’m just sick as hell,” he said.

I told him I’d just assumed that he’d already been exposed to it since his older brother had mono when he was only three. “We were really worried, they thought he had leukemia,” I told him. “And it was so hard to watch. He just wanted to sleep all the time, he had no energy for anything, the poor little kid.”

“I didn’t know that,” he said.

“You were, what, 18 months old,” I said. “How would you know?”

I remember feeling that I’d somehow done something wrong. The doctor kept saying how unusual it was to see mono in a child so young, she said they only saw it in cases of poverty or neglect. “Then you’d better expand your theory, since that doesn’t apply here,” I told the pediatrician.

But I still felt guilty. I mean, you grow this child inside you, you feel responsible when something goes wrong. (Yes, even when they’re in their thirties.) And you never quite stop worrying, do you?

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