Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm the Mommy

This past week has been a doozy.

Major school projects that require dismantling half the house have kept the entire family up way past our bedtime (Superdad's bedtime is 8:30pm, Annie's bedtime is 9pm, the boy's bedtime is 10pm or whenever they finally fall asleep, and mine is whenever all those other people are at last tucked in bed and snoozing).

Tim and Superdad got the thrill of flying down to San Francisco at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning to attend Game 1 of the World Series. It was worth all of the hassle and expense to pull together such a last minute trip, but it did create a flurry of activity and chaos right smack dab in the middle of the week.

The infamous Senior Thesis is still hanging over our heads like a not-at-all-cute version of Winnie the Pooh's little black rain cloud. For better or for worse, it will be turned in by this Friday morning at 8:10am but for now, it's still hovering.

Emails continue to pour in about November 15 college application deadlines. The dogs seem to be growing accustomed to the wailing and whining that erupts from me anytime one of these emails pops up in my inbox. There's a lot of heavy sighing, too.

Jack had the ACT test on Saturday morning, followed by a high school dance that night. I wonder which one was more fun?

And, of course, there were two soccer games (in the rain) this weekend and an attempt to not completely ruin our third child's childhood experience by finally going out and buying pumpkins for our porch. God help me, this probably means she is going to want to carve one of them sometime in the next 24 hours. Give me strength.

At any rate, as the evening wound down last night, I started fantasizing about climbing into bed, resting my head on my pillow and hoping upon hope that my brain would agree to shut down the swirling thoughts of deadlines and duties and allow me some much needed rest.

Turns out, last night was not the night my dream of a peaceful night's rest was going to come true.

At about 10pm, when I was starting to make my move to close up shop and make a run for the covers, I heard a tearful, plaintive cry from my youngest's bedroom. At that time of night, when a certain little one should have been asleep for over an hour, any cries for Mommy can't be good.

I went to her and found a shaky, weepy child obviously feeling sick and quite possibly about to throw up but fighting it with all her might. Like most of us, Annie is not a fan of throwing up. I assured her that she was in good company.

For the next two hours, I traveled with her back and forth from her bed to the bathroom as she went through waves of feeling better and then flooded with the uncomfortable queasy feelings again. We finally settled ourselves on the cold, hard tile of the bathroom floor. She rested her head on her pillow while she verbalized with stunning clarity everything she was feeling about her experience.

It was funny for me to listen to my "talker" and think about how even in illness my kids have their own unique dispositions and methods for coping. As a little boy, Jack was downright pleasant when momentarily flattened by the latest bug going around. An undemanding little patient, who would bear his suffering unceremoniously and without complaint. His disarming sweetness almost made the sight of him lying ill all the more difficult to witness.

Timothy, healthy as a horse and hardly sick a day in his life, is far more offended and resentful when illness finally takes him down. Our competitive, tenacious child views any malady as one more adversary to be defeated and maligned. He is certain that *someone* must be to blame for this setback and heaven help you if he decides you are among the suspect. Lucky for all of us, his sturdy constitution generally brings him back to good health quickly.

No surprise, Annie requires a great deal of love and attention when she feels poorly. Nothing soothes her more than the reassurance of knowing she has mom and dad's full sympathy and attention. But Annie also processes almost any experience verbally and the experience of feeling sick is no exception.

While kneeling near the toilet bowl, just in case, she proceeded to engage in her own self-help version of therapy, all in her small, pathetic, shaky, tired voice.

I just wish that I could know if I'm going to throw up or not, then I wouldn't be so worried. I just feel worried because I don't know what to expect. I don't like throwing up but I know that sometimes after you throw up you feel better. Right, Mommy? How many times have you thrown up, Mom? Do you ever feel worried and scared about it? Did you feel better afterward? Why does God have to let people be sick? I know it's because he made us to be human and so he lets human things happen to us... 

(heaven help me, the child actually hears me. I better increase my prayers for wisdom so I don't say anything too stupid),

...but I still wish he would stop people from being sick since he loves us so much.

(she's a budding theologian, my girl...)

Mommy, would you pray for me right now? Actually, just pray in your head, when you pray out loud it makes me feel like I'm going to throw up.

(good to know-I'll avoid praying out loud in public lest I cause people around me to start vomiting).

This went on for two hours as I attempted to stroke, soothe, calm, pray, quiet and sing her anxieties away. As it neared midnight and I could see fatigue starting to win out over whatever discomfort she was feeling, I let out a sigh myself and without thinking muttered, "Oh, Annie...I'm so tired."

She lifted her heavy head off of her pillow in alarm and asked frantically, "Are you going to go to bed and leave me by myself?"

Brushing her hair back from her face and shushing her quietly I quickly assured her that, no, I was not going anywhere. I would stay with her as long as she needed me, even if that meant all night.

Her weary head relaxed and settled again into her pillow and with her eyes heavy with exhaustion she mumbled, "Because you're my Mommy....right?"

I thought of the dozens of reasons I wouldn't leave her sick and alone lying on the bathroom floor, but none of them seemed as good a reason as that one right there. It's the reason we all soldier through disruptive school projects, rainy soccer games, messy pumpkin carvings, hundreds of school paper edits, college application essays, and late, long nights sitting on a very cold, very hard tile floor with nothing more than a penguin shaped Pillow Pet for comfort.

Because I'm their Mommy.

Here's to the Mommies. Hang in there this week. We are all in this together.


  1. 1) As soon as I read the words about the World Series in San Francisco, the '89 earthquake came roaring into my memory in stunning clarity.

    2) You are a nicer mommy than I. I always put the sick child on the floor in the master bath and then climbed into my bed!

  2. What a precious post (throw-up talk and all). I was laughing and then tearing up. :) I love your perspective on the three of your kids.
    My son has been coughing all day (well, for several days), and today he coughed in that violent way that gags you (ha, the cougher and the one listening to the cougher), and he had a panicked look on his face. I pulled him over to the tile floor in front of our front door (yes, it is a strange thing to do in the end, and I regretted it afterward...grout and throw-up are not good partners) and he threw up a little. After he did, he said,"It's just like last time!" meaning, now I feel all better! Hilarious. (Except for the throw-up on the floor...that was not so hilarious.)
    Anyway, this was a sweet post. I read Mindee's blog and have popped over here a couple of times.