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 firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.