"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sick Kids, and Being a Mom

Last night, I went to bed at midnight.  I was still awake an hour later, when Tegan (who'd been sleeping fitfully) suddenly threw up all over me, herself, and the bed.  Mike and I were instantly put into that familiar parental hyper-drive, wordlessly teaming up to comfort, clean, and soothe the girl... gather towels and a trash can and new pajamas... strip and wash the bedding, and my clothes, and her clothes...

For the next few hours, we laid awake, doting on the girl while she got sick again and again.  She felt undeniably lousy, but handled and understood it so much better than she did a year ago at age two.  And in typical Tegan fashion, she still managed to keep things upbeat and interesting with her questions about farts, ceiling fans, and venetian blinds.   I do so love that girl.

It's an interesting juxtaposition..... There are few things that make me sadder than seeing my kids feel miserably sick (especially when it's of the tummy bug variety), but there's something... sweet... about it too.  Such a chance to really reconnect, to love on them 150%, to strip away the distractions of the day, to get back down to the core of what we're supposed to be doing here, and to be a parent.  I don't love it when my babies are sick.  But I do love an opportunity to take care of them in what's somehow both a more basic and profound way than normal.  I love knowing that I'm able to help them feel better, if even a little bit, simply by my being there.  I love being their mom.

Before I went to bed last night, I spent a long time reading a forum thread devoted to, well, attacking me as a parent.  While I can't pretend to understand what would make a person so angry inside that they need to call me - a complete stranger - an idiot, and call my kids future "murderers, drunk drivers, and wife-beaters" I do know without a doubt that it isn't about me. How can it be? They don't know me.   They don't know my kids.  Their words say something about them, not me. 

And at the end of the day, the only people I have to answer to in terms of my parenting are my children.  Not family, not friends, and certainly not random strangers on the internet.  My kids are the ones who get the vote, my kids are the ones who get heard.  

Do my kids feel loved?
Do my kids feel safe?
Do my kids feel respected?

If I can answer yes to those questions on any given day, I know I'm doing alright by them.

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