The last two days, my two littlest girls have been sick sick sick. Grae has been the sickest of all, which hurts my heart in the most sincere way. She has had a fever and cough and has been too congested to eat or sleep. I was up all night Saturday, then again on Sunday. The only way she would sleep a few minutes is if I was walking her through the house on my shoulder. Stella was in my bed coughing, and Grae fussing through congested airways. On Monday morning, my alarm went off without ever having gone to sleep. I felt so exhausted I seriously did not know how I was going to survive the day – a feeling I have come to know well over the last year.
I am a mother, so of course my day must go on. I got up, made oatmeal, poured juice, picked out clothes, did hair, changed diapers. Brady took Harlo to school while I plopped down on the couch and wanted to sob out of exhaustion. Grae’s fever was raging, Stella was coughing more than breathing and my stress level was at maximum capacity. (Nothing stresses me out more than sickness.) I sat on the couch saying a sincere prayer from my heart about helping me survive the day and please please please please please please make my kids feel better. Brady walked in with a cup of ice cold caffeine and I took that as a prayer answered.
I wore Grae around the house all day. Her pitiful little self was just as happy as can be – her tired body, wrapped tight against my chest. Every time I walked past a mirror and exchanged a smile with her my heart would melt. I pushed on through the afternoon, and poor Grae just kept getting worse. She was as hot as I’d ever felt her and so lethargic. Even medicine wasn’t breaking her fever. I filled the tub full of warm water with some essential oils mixed in and got in with her. She laid on my chest while I dumped cups of water over her hot little back. We sat in that tub for a good 40 minutes this way. Just the sounds of the water and her belabored breathing to be heard.
In this moment, I was every single thing Grae needed – feeling as completely defeated as I was. I had given every last drop of myself, but still, I was enough for her. This experience of motherhood was profound. In my desperation, I was utterly empty – but motherhood met me right where I was, and filled me completely. I soaked in that special, sacred moment in the tub with my baby. I felt whole again.
Sometimes motherhood is so happy and blissful and wonderful. Sometimes it is scary and lonely and defeating.