Both my kids were sick and missed a couple days of school the other day, and I told them this story from my childhood.
My older brother, Brian, was having heart surgery, and while my parents shuttled back and forth to the hospital, my grandmother was staying with us a few days to help out.
As it happened, I was home sick with a cold for a couple days. When my school called to ask where I was, I'll never know if they just asked my grandmother why "your grandson" wasn't at school, or if she was momentarily confused about which one was "Brian" and which one was "Bruce." But I'm certain she'd have practically yelled something like "He's in the hospital! He's having open-heart surgery! He's very, very sick! He won't be back for weeks!" and then hung up.
So you can imagine the look on my teacher's face when I strolled into the classroom the next morning. Her mouth dropped wide open, the room turned silent and all the other kids got very still and stared at me. "What are you doing here?" my teacher asked.
"I feel better today," I said.
"But they told me you were in the hospital!"
"No, I just had a cold." Turns out they'd spent much of the previous day making me a giant get-well card, about 3 feet high. I remember that it had a big red heart on it (I'd had heart surgery, of course) and they'd all signed it and written something. It was pinned to the bulletin board, and my teacher was planning on taking it to the hospital after school that day.
I'm happy to report that my brother's surgery went well. My teacher quietly took the card down later in the day, and I assume she threw it away, but I've always kind of wished she'd have given it to me. After all, I did have a cold.
Photo: Flickr: Alejandra Quiroz