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I’d Take it for You if I Could

by Ronald A. Rowe | December 8th, 2010 | Elementary

When I was a boy – many, many years ago – I had bronchitis. It was painful and draining and generally no fun. I still remember my mother saying to me, “I’d take it for you if I could”. It was a nice sentiment, but I couldn’t really understand how a person could wish such an unpleasant thing upon themselves for someone else’s sake.

Fast forward thirty plus years, and I’m a dad with a nine year-old son of my own. He is currently entering his third week of being down with double pneumonia. The same son, for those who’ve been reading for awhile, who had his appendix removed in January. It’s been a rough year for the little guy.

The pneumonia symptoms are awful; the drug side-effects may be worse. Two weeks bedridden. Four trips to the doctor. Two sets of chest X-rays. Four different medicines. And an expensive nebulizer machine that I hope we will never EVER need to use again.

Looking back on my own childhood illness I realize that I thought it was bad to suffer through the physical pain. Now I get it. Now I understand what mom meant all those years ago. I think it takes a parent to know what it really means to wish it all on ourselves, to be willing to do anything to spare someone else the suffering.

Now I know that it is so much worse to see your child going through it. It’s more than a nice sentiment; it is absolutely genuine. And in my own self interest, too. It would be infinitely preferable to suffer through walking pneumonia myself than to see my young son do it and to be absolutely unable to make it better.

It took three decades and a son of my own, but I get it now. Thanks, mom.

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