My preschooler stayed home sick today.

I should probably preface the rest of this post by noting that he isn’t seriously ill, or retching or having bowel issues. If that were the case, I probably wouldn’t be writing about the simple joy of a sick day while he naps.

As it is, he has pink eye. So here we are.

This is my little man’s fourth bout with pink eye in two months. It’s been running a bit rampant through his preschool, and he seems particularly susceptible. So he’s been home quite a bit.

Today, however, was a day he was bummed to miss. Yesterday, his class filled their “warm fuzzier” jar with pom-poms, which they earn for being kind to each other. When the jar is filled, they get a pajama party day at school. So today was to be PJ Party day, and my poor little guy woke up with gunky eyes.

As he dissolved into tears when we told him he wouldn’t be going to school today, I resolved to make it a great day. I promised him we’d have a PJ day at home. We put the movie Brave on TV and he got to have popcorn and fruit snacks for breakfast and pretend we were at the movies. We snuggled on the couch in our jammies while baby brother napped. We went to the doctor and got an eye drop prescription — and a donut afterwards!

So far, it’s been a good day.

When you’re a working parent, a sick kiddo is often an automatic stress factor that launches a parental negotiation process. Who has more sick days left? Who can most afford to miss a day of work? Whose boss will be less annoyed that they’re out? My wife and I tend to strike a pretty good balance, and I imagine most other families with two working parents have worked out a system that works for them, as well.

But this morning has been a great reminder to me that sick days aren’t all bad — at least not as long as my child isn’t seriously ill. My boys (baby brother usually goes to daycare at my place of work, so he’s home with me, too) and I have gotten in some good quality time. We’ve had tickles and giggles. We might go play outside in the snow this afternoon, or maybe do an arts and crafts project.

Here’s to the sweet, simple joy of a sick day.