As my girls get older, their colds come with less frequency than when they were babies and toddlers, but they sweep over them now with such a swift ferocity. I am always caught off guard by my children’s otherwise independent demeanor to be swept away once they get sick their neediness is that of little baby birds.
I am filled with contradictory feelings as well today. In one part of me I am satisfied by this caretaking. There is something elemental about knowing that I am the sole source of Sophie’s comfort and ease while she is rendered useless and limp like an over cooked noodle. She is normally like a Thoroughbred, with all the speed and grace that comes with that animal. But when she is sick like this – she actually naps and cries in mews like a baby kitten and keeps a crinkled worried brow glued to her forehead all day. Momma is all she wants and needs. And that feels good because I am able to give this little creature that I love so much a little ginger ale and it makes her feel better.Yet, when they are sick – all time comes to a screeching halt. I am amazed that the earth keeps turning and that there are highways filled with cars going somewhere because my world in an instant is telescoped into small, focused areas and actions - Kid, kitchen, bathroom, couch. Ginger ale, washcloth, warmed up boo-boo snake (a magical rice filled tube sock, pre-school project, that cures all ailments) All plans and items on my to-do list I had for the day are done – and because of her frequency to use the bathroom – anything I start has to stop at any second. (The only reason why this is even written is because Sophie is napping. For the briefest of moments. )
Time really does stop for me – because anything place I was planning to be, go and do are done. And today was one of those days where I had it mapped out to the hour – and none of it is happening. It is hard – but I have to let it go.
This is where the smashing contradiction of motherhood happens. How can motherhood be so deeply gratifying yet soul sucking at the same time? Why does holding her hair while she pukes feel so Nobel Prize worthy, so utterly necessary to keep the world turning? I really don’t know why the New York Times isn’t covering the fact that I warmed up that Boo-Boo Snake 14 times today, wiped barf over 10 and sat on the bathroom floor with Sophie for countless hours and rubbed her back while she cried through each heave.
I have to go - Sophie just woke up. She rolled over, smiled at me and said, "Hi Momma."