There is something immensely comforting about sitting and reading a book with a quilt over your knees.
I was reminded of that yesterday, while the boys napped. Â It’s been a tough two days; Lukey got a terrible cold, which then turned into an ear infection, which subsequently turned him into a very cranky little fellow. Â It was a relief when the boys went down for a siesta. Â Though I had (and still have) piles of grading to do, I gave myself a little break, brewed some tea, and sat down on the couch with At Home in Mitford, which I recently borrowed from my mother. Â (Having read all the Fairacre books, I need something else to fill the “charming, non-angsty tales of a small village” space in my reading life. Â I usually have a few books going at once — and I always need to have something cozy to read before bed. Â It’s the literary equivalent of chamomile tea.)
And as I read, I spread a small quilt over my lap. Â Right away, the afternoon got a whole lot better. I felt like a little squirrel in a nest. Â That blanket made the act of reading feel a bit more lasting; with a cover over me, I was not likely to jump up in ten minutes’ time and go check email or throw in a load of laundry. And it reminded me of times when I have been sick, and would lie on the sofa without having to do anything more taxing than turn a page or lift a remote. Â Those days are few and far between now; like most moms, I ignore symptoms of illness in myself because of some stubborn, false sense that the wheels of family life will stop grinding if I’m not actively running the show. Â This means that I tend to the sick far more than I let others tend to me. Â I’m almost incapable of reclining on the sofa and letting my husband take over child or house duties — and this, in fact, is why I adored being in the hospital when my kids were born. ( Four days of other people cooking, cleaning, and bringing me meals, with absolutely no feeling that I should be up doing it myself? Â It was like Club Med.)
But I was reminded yesterday that it’s okay to treat myself like a little invalid, even when I’m well. Â It’s extraordinarily refreshing to snuggle under a blanket for a short time, to savor Â the silence and rest and immobility that are the good parts of being sick. Â We all need that, every once in a while — time under the quilt, with no guilt.