Do you remember what it was like when you got the “OK” to stay home sick from school when you were little? As long as you weren’t hanging over the toilet, there was something exciting about staying home with your mom when everyone else was racing for the bus. (For about an hour….then it got a little boring.)

Ah, the memories. As I’ve mentioned before, fellow Rhody Blogger, Carla Molina Martins, from, started a “Mom Before Mom” prompt where you write about life before you became a mom. This week we’re talking about childhood memories of sick days.

This post would not even be possible without two key things planted in my memory: Vick’s Vapor Rub and The Young and the Restless. photo(3)To this day, the minute someone cracks open that blue jar of strong-smelling goop, I’m jolted back to my old house in Seabrook, Texas, with a nasty head cold. I’m wrapped in my grandmother’s hand-crocheted afghan, sprawled out on the couch with a box of Kleenex, a bowl of chicken & stars soup (thanks for this memory from Chelley, another fellow blogger), and a sleeve of Saltines, watching Ashley, Lauren, Victor, Nikki and Cricket ruin their lives on 42 “hopefully suspenseful” but oh-so-drawn-out minutes of The Young and the Restless. (I think we all watched soap operas as kids, and would NEVER let our kids watch them today.) And I digress.

I had a pedicure the other day and this same soap opera, which I hadn’t seen in probably 30 years, was playing on the salon’s wide screen TV. It was like watching an ambulance. I was immediately drawn to the opening theme song. Before I knew it, I was 10 years old again. I swear the story line has not changed. Thankfully, the hairstyles have. Something about that show helped soothe me to sleep, so I could nap before my brother and dad came home. A You Tube treat for all Y&R fans out there. Check out Nikki’s rockin’ 80’s hair-do:

I never wanted to go to my own bed on sick days. There was something so comforting hanging out in our family room, with the wood paneling, wretched-black-and-brown-patterned woven recliner, and comfy beige stained sofa.

My mom went back to college when I was around 10, so some sick days, I would be left by myself part of the day. That’s when the Newmans became like family. If I was really sick, she would cancel everything, call the doctor and stay home with me all day. God bless her, she juggled a lot back then. Thanks, mom!

When I was really little, my mom would rub Vick’s on my chest, and place a layer of Kleenex on top so it wouldn’t ooze into my shirt. But it always did. That’s when those long, Laura Ingalls Wilder-style night gowns that my grandmother gave me every Christmas came in handy. As I got older, I would rub Vick’s on my chest by myself, but there would always be remnants left under my finger nails. (I have never met a bar of soap that can take this stuff off completely.) To this day, I still keep a jar in my medicine cabinet. In fact, I used it on my 11-year-old the other day. He took one sniff, frowned, and said to me, “Whatevs, mom. I’ll use it, but please let me put it on myself.” More power to ya, son.

Guess what? The stuff still works.

I have officially become my mother.