Bags, Mags, and Shags

Maybe it was the flu. My limbs felt leaden and I was woozy. Waking at 5 a.m. didn’t help. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve thought I was hungover. Now don’t get excited. I wasn’t. Things are much more dull than that around here.

I dragged myself into the bathroom and leaned against the mirror. Greenish pallor. Dizzy. “Ghastly,” I thought to myself.

I trudged back to bed and hoped for zzzzzzs.


“Shit,” I thought. “Saturday morning. I can sleep in. And I’m wide awake at five.”

My brain wouldn’t stop clicking through everything on my checklist. My legs throbbed. I felt pinned to the mattress, but lying there seemed like torture, so I got back up and padded out to the kitchen.

Couch as comfort zone

There he was – my teenager – out cold on the couch in the living room, which I can see from the counter. He was in his (new) usual sleeping spot – television blaring, lights on, computer open on the ottoman beside him.

I walked over and turned everything off – it was still dark – then I felt my way back to the kitchen, and specifically to the jar of tea bags by the coffeemaker. I fingered through the assortment, squinting to see what was there, and went for Earl Grey. Not the usual Italian Roast. I needed whatever was comforting, and easy on the stomach.

Isn’t it strange how we comfort ourselves with little changes when times are tough, or we aren’t feeling at our best?

Creating comfort

My son is under enormous pressure these days. For whatever reason, he is taking comfort in sleeping in the living room, and to be honest – I’m taking comfort in his being nearer to me at night. I’m worn and stressed myself. His presence is reassuring.

My teenager is also taking pleasure in music. It relaxes him, and he often studies and paints to an assortment of rock and classical, thanks to Pandora on the computer.

By afternoon, with a trail of teabags scattered here and there while still trying to find ways to feel better, my son popped his head in. I was clearly off my rhythm, so he began to lecture – politely – on my need to sleep more and eat better. Now where might that message have come from, I wonder?

Then, he said “I’ll make you something.”

Life in the slow lane (Kid cooks eggs)

A few minutes later I was served eggs and a bagel in bed. What’s not to love about that? The food helped a little (and his thoughtfulness, even more so), but my body was basically screaming “just donate me to science now.

I settled back under the covers and must have slept for awhile – utterly unlike me – and when I woke, I went for the Big Guns when it comes to decompressing: Elle Décor, Traditional Home, a bit of Vogue, and some older issues of French magazines I unearthed from a pile in my bedroom.

Don’t we all have “go to” comfort objects?

The best laid plans

By evening, my son was listening to Bolero and painting contentedly, working on a self-portrait which is due next week. I stayed in bed, surrendering (with irritation) to the reality I’d been fighting all day – no errands would get done, no items would be scratched off my lengthy checklists.

Surrender? To anything? It’s so not me – but my physical self had other ideas entirely. It was a day given over to “the best laid plans,” as evidenced by my body which simply insisted that I stop. All systems – no go.

I couldn’t help but think about my single days when I worked long hours and traveled a fair amount. But I was only responsible for myself. When I needed to take a break, I could. When I needed to get away – to disappear to France for example – I could. I was able to roll with the punches more easily not only because I was younger, but because any and all complexities had only to do with me. That changes with marriage, and even more so – with parenting.

Nighttime panacea (Chick flicks)

I will now say – with absolutely no embarrassment – I topped off the night by opting for chick flicks – the kind that I wouldn’t have admitted to enjoying a few years back.

Now? I don’t give a damn what anyone thinks. (Ain’t aging grand??)

There are times when a classic chick flick is just what the doctor ordered. So I dug out my favorite feel-good DVDs – Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Notting Hill, About a Boy. Are you seeing a trend here? Dial-a-Hugh? I also made a mental note that I must order Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah (whose delicious Scottish accent makes me swoon).

Thumbnail Bridget JonesYes, I went for best in Brit romantic comedy, however cliché. And might I say that falling asleep to Colin Firth isn’t the worst thing in the world?

It wasn’t exactly the day I had planned, and I am (ruefully) welcoming this morning with that interminable checklist weighing on me. But I’m also feeling perkier, and am noticeably less green around the gills. I suspect this change is due in part to a restful night, helped along by a thoughtful son, and bags, mags, and shags.

What gives you comfort when you need it most?

Image of Colin Firth, full attribution, Wiki, Creative Commons License 2.0.


  1. says

    Hey. I had a day like this recently. Was also ill and just couldn’t manage anything. So I watched Oliver with my kids. It was heaven. How funny that it takes an illness to get us to slow down and enjoy life but for me, musical theatre is always deeply comforting! Hope you’re feeling better. I’m not…but hopefully soon!

    Delia Lloyd

  2. says

    Listen to the body – it gives warnings when it’s ready to cave in. A day of doing nothing but that which is easy is good for the body and the psyche. And sometimes very necessary.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      I know you’re right Carol, but what do you do when the obligations are pressing and non-negotiable – and you’re “it” when it comes to the one to do them? That said, I’m taking it a little easier today – trying to get some things done – but a little easier, still.

  3. says

    What a sweetie for your son to make you some food. Lovely.

    As for comfort items, chicken and rice soup, grilled cheese and diet coke when my tummy feels ill. Life on the couch with the DVR is good for my psyche – a day of doing nothing. I find I need those every now and again.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon! And listen to your son, it sounds like he has some good advice!

  4. says

    Love those movies. Love Colin Firth. And Hugh Grant. And, okay, if I’m honest, snuggling under the covers with the latest issue of People. Feel better soon!

  5. says

    How sweet that your son was mommying you!
    What gives me comfort? Being out in nature and reminding myself at just how blessed I am to have a great kid, a great BF, great friends, a job ….
    Whenever I start to gather the accouterments for a pity party, I think it could be soooo much worse.

  6. says

    I’m so glad your day of rest resulted in actual sleep and helped you feel better. Your movie selections made me smile. I’ve seen all but Sliding Doors, must clearly add that to the list. (In a totally different vein/genre, I caught a special showing of The Portuguese Nun last week, which I enjoyed — thought of you as three languages were introduced within the first 60 seconds of the film. It made my brain do a little dance.)

    Hoping you’ll get some scaled-down days while your son is on winter break. C’est possible?

    • BigLittleWolf says

      The Portuguese Nun? I’ll have to check it out. Thanks! (Quant aux vacances, malheureusement, j’ai tous les papiers à rendre, juste après le nouvel an, sur les finances – pour prets et bourses – un boulot pas simple du tout. Mais après ? Fin Janvier ? J’espère pouvoir me reposer un tout petit peu. Il est vrai que je suis crevée.) Three languages in 60 seconds? Sounds like my cup of java, CT!

      (And Sliding Doors is a nifty, subtle film that plays with time – what happens in a split second that can change your life. I highly recommend it.)

  7. says

    Hope you are already feeling better (since I’m working backward through your posts that I’ve missed). Nothing wrong with some movie time (Notting Hill and Bridget Jones are ones that I’ve enjoyed in the past).

  8. says

    glad you’re feeling better! a day of not doing much does wonders – I think! was snowbound this weekend so Sunday and Monday were relaxing days – watched Fringe’s first season (I’d never seen the show before) and am now captivated by it. Decorated and decluttered my bedroom. Did laundry. Napped. Read. Napped. Utterly delicious.

    I love all the films you mentioned and had forgotten about “About a Boy”…a favorite line is when Hugh Grant mentions how sad but how fun it is to follow an ambulance in his sports car. Also..any time the mother/son started singing “their” song. I need to see that film again along with Notting Hill.


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