Dean does not have strep throat. This is a big relief to me, even as I acknowledge to him that "not having strep," and "feeling 100% better" are two entirely different things. He definitely has a cold, and with it some variety of virus that's particularly awful on the throat.
He felt too sick to go to school yesterday, and I know that I can totally trust him in this regard -- that if he's says he's too sick to go to school, it is true. I looked at my own work schedule for the day and, given that I was already dressed and prepared, thought that I perhaps should leave him with clear instructions and go on to work. Again, I know I can trust him, and I know that he's comfortable and capable managing a day on his own.
But then I reflected -- in an instant -- on how wonderful it is to be taken care of when you're sick, and how incredibly short the window of time in your life is when someone DOES actually stay with you and take care of you. Has there ever been a time in your adult life when you've been miserably sick and you haven't wished that your mom or dad were there to take care of you? Isn't it always what you wish for?
And so I stayed home with him and made him scrambled eggs, and hot tea with honey; I played board games and watched some tv with him, and sat reading next to him while he read. I wrapped him in blankets and got his pillows for him and made him put down his book and close his eyes for a while (*just in case* some sleep might follow!). And he, even he who is growing up and becoming independent and wanting to do things himself, was grateful.
Raising a teen is an interesting journey. I think it's challenging to balance giving and expecting independence with giving support. No, not babies any more, but still not adults. It's OK to want both things, I tell him -- to want to do it yourself and to want help. And so that's the journey we keep taking together.