Monday, July 20, 2009


I heard over the weekend that “chicken” is the funniest word in the English language. I don’t know how researchers conducted their study, but they certainly never asked a mom whose child has chicken pox.

My son, along with his sister, have been signed up for summer camp since, oh, January. This would be the first time they’ve both gone away from home at the same time, which means I keep a calendar in my office with big X’s marking the countdown until the first day of camp - not for them, for me.

To say I was excited would be an understatement. Not that I don’t love them dearly but a week free of sibling squabbles, bedtime battles and guilt that I haven’t taken them to Six Flags sounded very, very good to me. I had a brief scare early in the month when my college-aged daughter called and said, “Oh, they’ll be gone for a week? When? I may be coming home…” In my mind, I screamed, “NOOOOOOO.”

Alas, that bullet was dodged, the kids were packed, and all was well. I decided that during their absence I would get a pedicure since my first and last one was seven years ago. Since my husband would be busy part of the week with business, I also decided that I would take myself out on a date to my favorite restaurant. I could bring a book, order a cocktail and eat without having to cut up someone else’s meat. More importantly, I would be eating food prepared by someone else, served to me by someone else, and, the piece de la resistance, cleaned up by someone else. Ah, yes, that would be the life!

As fate would have it, however, I looked over at my son at the breakfast table the morning before camp. He had complained the night before about itching, and I chalked it up to chiggers. If you don’t know what those are, count your blessings. So, I glanced across the table and saw that my son was covered with little red dots.


“Syrup?” he answered.

Immediately, I got up and pulled up his shirt and saw that they were on his truck, neck, legs, and, of course, I asked the question, the one only mothers do, “Are they on your private parts, too?”


“Oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead and finish your pancakes, son.”

“I’m not really hungry now,” he said.

To add insult to injury is the fact that I had not taken him to the doctor for his second chicken pox vaccine.

“For heavens sake, it’s not like measles or mumps or rubella. When I was growing up, we all had chicken pox,” I told the nurse, the principal and the candlestick maker.

Since it was Sunday, and no one gets sick on Sunday (yeah, right), I took him to the Minute Clinic. I waited an hour and a half for the very sweet nurse practitioner to tell me that she could not treat him. I needed to go to the Urgent Care Center.

Since it was lunch time, I asked him, “Are you hungry?”

“No, ma’am.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Five minutes into our two and half hour wait at Urgent Care, he declared he was starving. And he was itching. And he might die at any minute from either.

Finally, in his misery, he exclaimed, “I’ve seen better service than this in a graveyard.”

I exploded with laughter, causing the room of poor sick folks, which included a man whose wedding band was stuck on his swollen finger, a guy with a five-inch gash in his leg and a coughing six-year-old girl to look at me like I was crazy.

Turns out there is humor in the word “chicken,” after all, especially when pox turns out to be poison ivy. One shot of cortisone in bottom, and the boy is off to camp. Unless he chickens out, that is. And that is definitely not a funny thought.


My ADHD Me said...

This was funny.

And I can't think of a more wonderful gift than a week to myself while my kids were off somewhere enjoying themselves and my husband at work working, say 25 1/2 hours a day.

HURRAY FOR CHICKENS!!-- or should I say for lack of...

Meredith Leigh Knight said...

Now THAT is funny!! Thank you for your nice comment. :)