Monday, September 9, 2013

The hardest part about motherhood

Dylan's four-day fever finally fell below 100 degrees today and he woke up from his nap covered in sweat. I've never been so happy to see that child drenched in sweat as I was this afternoon; I knew his fever was breaking. 

The color came back into his face at about the time Sean came home from work and soon he was swinging on the swings and asking if he could help cook dinner as if he had not been that boy curled up in a ball moaning for me to take away his sick all weekend.  He threw up five times last night and was pretty incoherent so I slept on the couch in his room and checked on him every hour. At one temperature reading the thermometer registered a 103.5. I was scared. More medicine, more undressing, more baby rub, more hugs. I watched him all night and he woke every time I moved from that couch. "Mama, I need hugs", he'd say. 

Motherhood is terrifying.  Motherhood is helpless.  Motherhood is watching this little person who owns your heart suffer and trying to pretend that you aren't at all rattled when his body feels as if it is in flames in your arms.  Motherhood is holding his little body in front of the toilet as he loses every ounce of energy left in his stomach and carrying that exhausted little boy upstairs to tuck him in, knowing damn well that you don't plan on sleeping tonight. 

I barely let him finish dinner before guiding him out the door tonight for a special surprise:  a Mama and Dylan trip to pick up ice cream sundaes.  A rite of passage for this sweet baby--who is no longer a baby--of mine who crossed the finish line of the preschool flu battle of 2013.  Out after bedtime, talking about the difference between a sunrise and a sunset, ordering caramel by request and being a Chatty Cathy to the woman behind the counter taking our order. 

Four days of restless nights and a sick boy, yet I don't think my watch is over.  Kate woke up with a runny nose this morning--step 1 of this virus--and she's rolling around in her crib next to me, sneezing and cooing.  The picture above is of her enjoying a few bites of my ice cream. 

These kids take shifts. When one is awake the other is not, when one heals the other falls ill.  You don't get a break when you are a mama, nor do you want one.  Nothing is more important than being there, being present, and nothing is harder than having to watch them journey through the storm.