I am mom. And I got sick.
It felt like a cold coming on during the beginning part of the week. First I got somebody's pinkeye, then somebody else's cold, then it seemed like flu. Thursday morning, I knew it was inescapable. But the baby had an appointment first thing. Then all four helpers came with me for the weekly grocery store run.
We got home. Put away the perishables. I sent the six year old on reconnaissance for all available tissue boxes in the house. The five year old dug out some juice boxes and hauled a bag of chicken nuggets out of the freezer. The three year old pawed through the shopping bags, found crackers, and dumped a generous portion out to share with the one year old.
I sat down on the living room rug with my heavy head plastered to the sofa.
And I did the only thing I could think of.
I called my own mother.
She couldn't come for long, but she stopped by on her way to work and made sure the children ate something and the little one had a clean diaper before nap. And she did the dishes. I collapsed on the sofa under the weight of full sinuses and a revolting stomach. I haven't gotten this ill since the early weeks of each pregnancy. (The housekeeping staff at the hospital where I worked never forgot me after I lost my lunch in a patient's room during my first baby's early trimester...) But I'm not pregnant (this week anyway! Honest!)
It would have been better if it was raining. A warm fire, cup of ginger and honey tea, and a good book to keep misery company would have made being sick almost pleasant. But it was a balmy mid-60's, the sun painted dappled shadows through the resplendent autumn foliage. The soccer moms in the field down the road sent muted chatter up the hill to add every sense to the picturesque fall scene. I should have been in the midst of it, walking on the old train tracks with the children and a camera - or at least cleaning out the stinky minivan while they tumbled around in crunchy leaf piles.
Instead, I closed the curtains and took a nap.
The older boys, too big to nap but too small to be outside while mommy was completely indisposed, got to watch a movie. The sun shone. The birds sang. I blew my nose and allowed myself to officially call off the school day.
The boys got a box of macaroni and cheese for their evening meal. (Ok, and some broccoli and leftover chicken and an apple.) They were ecstatic.
We made it through bedtime. It was quiet when our fearless leader finally drove his purple minivan into the driveway. I was sitting on the sofa, staring oozily at the wall while I cuddled with the box of the good tissues. "You're sick? This can't really happen, can it?" he asked, incredulously, when he walked in and surveyed the scene.
"Sorry," I snuffled. "I momentarily forgot the rules."
I heard him putter around the kitchen for a few minutes, appearing a few minutes later with a heaping bowl of cereal. He sat down heavily beside me and patted the flakes down into the milk.
"Does it stress you out to see me sick?" I was curious through the haze around my brain.
"It just makes me grumpy," He answered, half-smiling. "But you'll be better tomorrow, right? We won't be able to hold out much longer than that!"
The next day was difficult. They ate more cereal. Grandma provided sandwiches at lunch and changed several diapers. And life didn't revolve around me for a day.
It was humbling, a little.
It was encouraging, a bit, to know my brood would survive if I wasn't on my A game 24/7.
It was kind of a bummer to sort of be granted a break, only to waste it in sweat pants and misery. We had to drive a dirty van, walk around on sticky floors, and use a bathroom where the germs bred unchecked for over a week.
I didn't blog, keep up with politics, or even plan meals over the past week. There are still carrots in the garden and a husband who needs some attention. We're behind on math and reading homework. There's evidence of mice behind the cereal and I still can't find the library book cover.
|Tissue box thief.|
But life went on. I'm starting now to play catch up with the laundry mountain, school, cleaning, and the general mayhem that went unchecked for several days. I feel sometimes like every little body's life around here swings around the mommy fulcrum. Won't they spin out of control if I am out of commission? Aagh!
And yet - this mothering position was given me by God. I love being so integral to my family (most of the time.) But my life - is still His. And this family - it is still His. He is completely capable of taking care of all of us even if one sprocket gets loose for a moment. How humbling to realize He's got it all in control. I thought I did. Ha.
Now I find it a pleasure to rise again from the sagging couch and return to my position as chief cook and bottle washer. It is good to be reinstated in the God-given groove He's made for me.
And, of course, thank God for grandmas.
Angels in disguise.