I shouldn’t be writing this while hunched over my bedside table. I shouldn’t be writing this at all, actually; I shouldn’t be anywhere near my laptop since I should be luxuriating in a Jacuzzi in our hotel suite.
You know- the hotel suite that The Captain and I were supposed to be cozily ensconced in this weekend, since this was supposed to be our annual anniversary getaway weekend…. which ended in ashes last year, as I told you here. And life has a funny way of repeating itself; only this time, it went in reverse.
Vomit + kid illness = NOT GOING.
So I’m posting for two reasons: 1- to vent, because the circumstances blow, and 2- to express my thoughts on one of the biggest challenges of parenthood, which is… SELF SACRIFICE.
Picture This: Friday morning, mere hours before our impending weekend o’ fun. Older kids are at school, and I’m unpacking Peapod groceries, sorting laundry, packing bags. The phone rings. It’s the elementary school; #2 has had a terrible headache which left her feeling nauseous & out of it. The nurses are concerned.
The mother was EXTREMELY concerned.
So off I race to the school, after frantically dumping the younger two onto my unsuspecting father in law. I pick up #2, who is wheeled out of the school to me in a wheelchair since she was nauseous… (did I neglect to mention that I’m a hypochondriac? That being the case, you can imagine where my mind is going…)
I get #2 home, and call The Captain in tears, telling him that although #2 now seems her usual bubbly self, we need to get her to a doctor for a thorough neuro check. The main symptoms: a sudden awful headache, followed by nausea. Then,
*doooooo* (the sound of my call waiting) I pick up:
#1 (from the junior high): “Mooooom? I’m…..sick….. horrible headache, feel like throwing up. Can you come get me?”
TWO SICK KIDS.
WITHIN TEN MINUTES OF EACH OTHER.
FOUR HOURS BEFORE WE WERE SET TO LEAVE.
The Captain leaves work early, & off we head to the local pediatrician. While en route, #1 starts to say something like, “Oh, I’m gon-” and promptly vomits into the backseat of the car (The Captain’s, not mine. Thank God.)
An hour and two more vomit incidents later, we depart from the office with a Flu B diagnosis, and our dreams of a weekend away dashed.
But that’s how parenting goes, and therein lies the rub. You give so much to, and for your kids. And sometimes, it’s easy and instinctual, like breathing. And other times, when you have to sacrifice something you want really, really bad for the good of another, it feels unnatural and just plain unfair.
But you do it anyway. Because you love them.
That’s been the biggest challenge for me as a parent, and especially as a parent to so many. It’s those moments when you’re just feeling exhausted, or drained, or overwhelmed, and they still… need so much. And sometimes we moms just don’t.feel.like.it. inside. We don’t feel like cooking dinner, or checking homework, or wiping the thousandth sticky spill that day, or mediating the millionth sibling argument that hour.
But we still do. Because,
And there are glimpses of this greatness. Like when #4 dashed upstairs to retrieve #2’s blanket, just to be kind. Or when #1 cuddled #5 against her as they watched a movie. Or how #3 grabbed a glass of water for #2. Witnessing their random acts of kindness almost make a crappy weekend worth it…
…I did say…. ALMOST….
But because I’m not a saint, and this isn’t a Lifetime movie, I won’t end on that sugary note. Nope. I’ll tell you the rest. Like how I woke up on Saturday morning to #6 –who had clearly not gotten the kindness memo- smiling gleefully at the center of his crib, butt naked, with his formerly poopy diaper’s contents smeared on every possible surface, including his own little person. Surprise!
Then came today. Sunday. Well, now. Granted, we hadn’t managed to get our weekend away, but… we were still optimistic. After all, only #1 was sick with the flu, & showing gradual signs of improvement. Until,
#2 woke me up. At 7am, which thanks to #6’s shenanigans yesterday, shall now be referred to as our house’s witching hour. To tell me that, despite her best efforts, she had suddenly gotten sick, and vomited.
On the living room floor.
Oook… the area is disinfected and cordoned off, as is the now shivering, miserable #2. Then it hits me like a lightning bolt:
THE #$%^* WIGWAM PROJECT. (This is why I’m whining about it.)
#3’s project is due on Tuesday. And had I known this was happening with sufficient time, it would have been manageable. But #3 has a knack for neglecting to mention these things until very late in the game. So off I go in the pouring rain to forage for supplies… until my phone rings. It’s The Captain.
Followed by #5 (vomit)
Followed by #4 (vomit)
Followed by #3 (vomit)
Followed by my reaction(s), best represented here:
That’s how it works with big families. “You know the phrase, sharing is caring?”
We really care about each other. So,
So my Sunday has been spent pinning back hair, washing soiled bowls, laundering soiled blankets, and generally coating everything and everyone in a film of Lysol spray and Clorox wipes,
… and resisting the urge of self-preservation to just:
So it’s now late Sunday night, and my flu-weary family members are haphazardly strewn across the living room.
Me? Hell no. I’m hiding out in my room, only emerging to hold a bowl under someone’s nose in a timely manner. Because,
I’m the only one left now.
But it’s the love that anchors you in that place, even when it’s downright nasty. Parenting happens when it’s convenient, but most times when its not. Being a mom means getting down & dirty sometimes; it means putting someone else’s needs and wants before your own, out of love.
And that love definitely helps you to do things for your loved ones that you’d NEVER, EVER want to do otherwise, amirite??
So instead of my Jacuzzi soak, I’ll suck it up, get dressed for my day, & take care of my family.
…as long as they don’t, you know, touch me. 🙂Six Pack Mom