Vomit Is an Opportunity

*Disclaimer: I haven’t gotten sick yet. My kids have. If it catches up to me, my outlook won’t be as rosy, at least not while I’m sick. Lest I sound too Pollyannish for you, I wanted to make that part perfectly clear.


Nobody likes vomit. At least, no one likes it and admits it. There are probably some creepy chat rooms on the internet somewhere where people talk about exchanging unorthodox bodily fluids, but frankly, I’d rather not know about those. The chat rooms or the fluids. Especially the fluids.

So when my kids get sick—which isn’t particularly often; at least, we don’t get sick more than the average family of five—I remind myself that here is a chance to show my barfing urchins how much I love them. I’ve been blessed with a fairly strong constitution. During college I was the designated clean-up guy. As long as I liked you, I’d make sure you didn’t sleep with pink chunks of regurgitated Chinese food in your hair.

My Son's Room at Five A.M.
My Son’s Room at Five A.M.


So if I can do that for foolhardy acquaintances, I can certainly do it for the people I love more than anyone in the world, right?

I think of how awful I feel when I upchuck. I’m sure women who’ve been through labor are standing there, arms akimbo, tapping a foot and watching me with an arched eyebrow, so let me concede now that labor, I’m sure, is a billion times worse than anything we men will ever feel. But for a guy, puking is pretty nearly the worst thing we can experience. Of course, there are kidney stones and other horrors, but in our everyday lives…yep, you get the point.

So remembering how awful I feel when I get sick (Am I a moron for still wanting my mommy when I get ill?), I try not to focus on the mess, the clean-up, all the accoutrement of a Vesuvian food refund, and I instead remember how comforting it is to have a soothing presence nearby, how nice it is for someone to delude you into believing that it will soon be over, even though there’s every chance you’ll be dry-heaving for the next sixteen hours. That sort of delusion-creation is a form of love, you know? Pure, soothing, dishonest love. And kids need it more than anyone.

I guess it comes down to trying to turn a negative into a positive, which is something I don’t always succeed in doing but strive to do nevertheless.

My Middle Daughter's Room at Six A.M.
My Middle Daughter’s Room at Six A.M.

In case you’re wondering, yep, my oldest and second-oldest went Linda Blair last night. They’re still sick. I better go now. My daughter needs me to hold her hair while she loses her gorge; my son just needs me to bring him water, a damp washcloth, and an ice sculpture of Hermione Granger (yeah, he can be a little demanding when he’s sick, but he’s too great a boy for me to begrudge him that).

Have a good night, friends. May your gorges remain under your control.

4 thoughts on “Vomit Is an Opportunity

  1. I have my own Puke War Stories, both home and at work (nothing like having a girl heave dinner all over the Biography section and carpet right before closing!), but my wishes for speedy recovery to the cherubs, Jonathan!


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