Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Call Of (Motherhood) Duty

I've learned that being a Mom is all about expecting the unexpected. If you keep that in the back of your mind, you can learn to merely laugh when parenthood throws a wrench in your carefully laid plans. (And really, the only other option you have is to curl up in a ball and cry. Which doesn't really help the problem.)

The kids and I are off on a camping trip tomorrow. We're meeting my parents at a campsite about half an hour from our house. We'll be there until Wednesday afternoon. I'm leaving at 9am on Thursday to go to NYC for BlogHer12. I had everything carefully planned out. Lists written, schedules for packing, errands I needed to squeeze in. We were even going to my cousin's graduation party today, an hour away. I knew that if I could accomplish everything on my list this morning and tomorrow morning it would all get done and I wouldn't have to worry about it. Both trips would be executed without a hitch.

Then last night Stephanie seemed stuffy. When we put her to bed we noticed she was having a lot of trouble breathing out of her nose. When I went to bed at 11:30, she had already cried out for me a few times. At 1:30 I heard her again. I went in and laid with her. She was very restless, and seemed warm. I took her temp. 100.2. Gave her some motrin, laid with her for a while longer, and left her room around 3. At 4:30 I heard her again, and ended up spending the rest of the night holding her as she tossed and turned, trying to get comfortable.

At 8:30 in the morning, as she was standing in the middle of the living room, she threw up her entire cup of juice. (Sorry if you have a weak stomach. This is parenthood for you...uncensored!)

 For the briefest of minutes, as I stood staring at her standing in the middle of her own puke, sobbing her heart out, thoughts of my to-do list and our plans for the day flitted through my head. Then the thoughts left, as quickly as they came.

I sprang into action, scooping up my sick child and putting her in a warm bath. I called the host of the party we were attending to explain why we wouldn't be there. I spent the rest of the day alternating between giving her lots of TLC and crossing items off my to-do list. (Thanks goodness it was a Saturday that Dan didn't have to work.) Everything got done, but most importantly I was able to give my little one the attention she deserved during her time of need.

Motherhood is a balancing act. It requires the flexibilty to alter your plans at a moments notice in order to tend to the needs of your child. It isn't always easy, and it can be extremely challenging to let go of all the other stuff that you need and want to do.

But in the end, these trips will come and go. All the hard work and planning will soon be forgotten. But years from now, as Stephanie cares for her own sick child, she will (hopefully) remember how her mother reacted when she was sick. How it seemed like nothing else in the world mattered except her needs. How she spent the day in cozy clothes, and rocking in the glider, and eating "sick" foods like saltines and chicken soup. How her mother dropped her endless lists the second she said, in her sad, plaintive voice "Mommy, I need you." I know these things are what I remember from my own childhood.

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