Friday, May 25, 2012

Urgent care prompts Rx for maternal fervor

This past Mother’s Day, our youngest child was one little sick puppy.

It was the weekend of our move to a new home, and to be honest, I didn’t realize just how sick she was amidst all of the packing, unpacking, lifting and cleaning. Then Saturday afternoon, after a houseful of friends had helped us unload and unpack boxes, I noticed a little bundle of blankets on the couch. I assumed it was just that – a pile of blankets – but upon further investigation, I discovered our 10-year-old daughter under the blanket, fast asleep, the same girl who hasn’t willingly taken a nap in over 7 years.

Something was up.

Let me state here that I’m not proud of the fact that it took me over 36 hours to realize my child was sick. And yes, I did realize that my position in line for Mother of the Year was seriously in question, as usual.

The week earlier she had a high fever for two days straight without any other symptoms. We kept her home from school and sent her back to school Friday after her fever broke. Apparently the fever was just a precursor to the REAL illness which was now manifesting itself in our little girl.

I feel a total lack of control when my kids are sick. I can give them Tylenol, treat their sniffles, but ultimately it’s a waiting game until they regain health and strength. For someone who thrives on control (not naming any names here) this utter loss of control over the outcome is a tough pill to swallow.

I gave her another day to see if she could bounce back, but after another lethargic 24 hours I decided it was time to visit the doctor. Of course it was Sunday, because (little known fact) all children wait until the doctor’s office is closed to get really and truly sick. It’s uncanny how that works.

So we headed to urgent care to get her checked out, and it was then that I remembered that it was Mother’s Day.

What a great Mother’s Day, I thought sarcastically, as I filled out the paperwork and wrote a check for the co-pay.

And so we sat, and waited. After a few minutes Lily cuddled up next to me on the couch as we watched some mindless show on the television in the waiting area. This little girl who rarely if ever sits still, put her head on my lap and let me stroke her hair to take away a little bit of the pain she was experiencing. And it worked. I had a part in helping her relax and get her mind off the fact that her throat felt like broken glass at that moment.

It also got me thinking back on the last 10 years with her: Rocking her to sleep, pushing her in a swing, taking her to her first day of pre-school, watching her first dance recital, walking hand-in-hand.

At that moment I started chuckling because I realized, finally, that there was no better way to spend Mother’s Day than caring for one of my children. I mean, this right here is why I signed up for motherhood in the first place. It’s better than any other role I play in life. What a privilege.

The diagnosis was tonsillitis, which of course, can only feel better with frozen yogurt, right? And you can bet we partook of that remedy together.

What a great Mother’s Day, I thought.

But this time I truly meant it.

Eileen Burmeister lives and works in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

Friday, May 11, 2012

If you can read this headline, that means it didn’t fit in the box

I think my family may be plotting my death, so I wanted to publicly say something here in case anything weird happens. Wait, let me clarify: weirder than usual.

Why are they angry? Well, now that we’re moving, it’s been brought to my attention that I may have gone a little bit overboard on the packing. As you’re home reading this Sunday morning over coffee and a donut, my family will be unpacking box after box of items that we moved yesterday into our new home.

Now re-wind to last weekend. In an effort to help with the move, I took advantage of a full day home alone to pack everything that wasn’t moving, currently being eaten, or presently being worn by a family member. This resulted in a quite a bit of confusion when the other three members of the family returned home.

It was late, and Lily was getting ready for bed when she called from her room upstairs, “Mom, where are my pajamas?”

“Um,” I stalled. “I think they’re in your bottom drawer.”

“Nothing’s in my bottom drawer,” she replied.

Of course she was right. I had packed all but one drawer of her things, leaving her just enough to get her through the week of school before moving day. But did I take into account the need for sleeping attire for the upcoming week? Notsomuch.

Then my son, who has medication that he needs on a daily basis, woke me up Sunday morning and asked me if I packed his medication because the cupboard where it’s usually kept was bare. Before I could even answer in the affirmative, I was out in the garage searching through boxes in the bright morning sun.

A little later that morning while getting ready for church my husband yells, “Has anyone seen my cologne?”

“I may have packed it?” I said weakly, more a question than a statement. When he looked at me accusingly I said, “Okay, I did pack it.”

“Seriously?” he asked. Sadly, yes. But in all fairness, I packed my perfume too, so I tried to cheer him up by telling him we could be smelly together. He wasn’t buying it.

Even our cat seems mad at me, since I refuse to change her cat box until we move to the new house. Why open a new box of litter when we only have days to go, right? Instead she gives me a harsher-than-usual glare; something I didn’t think was possible.

I overheard my husband say to the kids, “Hold on to your pillows or your mom might pack them before Saturday.” Everyone’s a comedian around here.

Okay, I’ll admit it … I’m an over-eager packer. On the upside, I did uncover some items in a basement closet that hadn’t seen the light of day in over a decade. My favorite find was our Y2K stash (kids, go ask your parents what Y2K means). Thankfully, nothing came from the Y2K threat, or we wouldn’t have survived for long on our two, one-gallon jugs of water and one can of peaches. Apparently, my house packing is way better than my apocalyptic packing, which may have kept us alive through Jan. 3 of that year. Maybe.

So as it stands today, I may or may not be allowed to stay home on my own from here on in. I’m still waiting to hear the final word from the jury (my family). Yeah, I’m not holding out much hope either. They’re a tough crowd.

Eileen Burmeister works, packs and now lives in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

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