When I originally thought about writing this post one of our girls was dealing with a gnarly ear infection. She was home with us for a week while her sister still went to daycare. Then we were told to get her sister tested for COVID, long story short we’re now quarantined due to a positive test result. We’re all dealing with aches and pains and the frustration of having something that we worked so hard to keep out of our lives now be a part of our day-to-day.
I created a basket buddy for us that contains two pulse oximeters (adult and kid-sized), our thermometer, and extra ear inserts for the thermometer. This basket comes with us wherever we venture in our home, upstairs, downstairs, the basement, the toy room, etc. We were told to give out meds like Tylenol, Motrin, and to keep an eye on sore throats, coughing, aching, etc. I proudly shared this photo with my mom who applauded my efforts, but also reminded me to keep the girls hydrated, to buy some honey, and make sure that I had enough Vicks on hand.
This got me thinking about the various methods of care my loving grandmother and mother would provide to my siblings and me growing up. I vividly remember coughing my lungs out and watching my mother shuffle into my bedroom with Vicks, salt, and socks. That’s right, I said Vicks and salt. She’d sit at the edge of my bed slathering the soles of my feet with Vicks and shaking salt on top. She’d then cover my feet with socks, cover me back up, and would tell me to rest.
Shockingly this salt and Vicks combo would always work and honestly, I don’t understand the magic of it, but the coughing would subside and I’d be able to sleep.
Then there were the times I’d have a horrifically sore throat. For some reason, I was always prone to them when I was younger. My grandmother would pull out the honey and a lemon. She’d pour honey into a large spoon and hold the spoon over an open flame until the honey was warm, she’d then squeeze some lemon juice on top and give it a little mix. The contents would be transferred to another spoon (so as not to burn the inside of our mouths), and then she’d tip the concoction into my mouth. I can remember how soothing this was, not just the honey coating my throat but how nurturing it felt to be taken care of. I can remember the smile on my grandma’s face as she’d turn her back to wash the dishes.
Now I’m responsible for two little girls, two girls who never knew my grandmother, who don’t spend as much time with my mom as I’d like due to COVID and distance. But this doesn’t mean I can’t treat them to the same nurture that I received. I do the half-asleep shuffle with Vicks, salt, and socks. I make honey and lemon mixtures with the promise of some relief.
I remembered thinking before I had children that these home remedies were silly. I would take care of my colds and fevers with medicine, over-the-counter items that promised relief, but it didn’t occur to me until I had my own children that kids can’t have some of these medicines until they are much older.
I hope that when they look back on the time we spent together they’ll remember how I took care of them, how I passed down traditions that were shared with me by those who meant the most in my life. I hope that if they decide to have their own children they’ll smile as they do that half-asleep shuffle or as they reach for the honey and remember the love their mother had for them.
*Note: I do want to call out so there is no confusion that we are a vegan family, but we currently allow honey in our diet as it does help with sore throats. We’ll reevaluate whether or not we’ll continue to keep it in our diet once our daughters are old enough to take medication without honey.