Friday, January 25, 2013

When the kids get sick,
life seems to go in to a holding pattern.
And if you're a terrible flyer?
It just sucks.  
If you're not good at that whole "waiting" thing,
the waiting and watching thing, which I'm not,
you grip the arms of the seat, tense the legs, clutch nervously at bags, the magazine in your lap, trying desperately to release your hold while distracting yourself with other. . .things.
But this time of anxious waiting, hand wringing, looking to the people around you. . .
"Should we be worried?  Should we call someone?  What's going on?  Everything was fine a minute ago.  We were supposed to be landing!"
For a lot of people, a holding pattern is simply a minor inconvenience.
Some irritated eye rolls and watch tapping.
But for the rest of us?  Time stands still as you circle the clouds,
the ground so far from your feet, waiting, watching,
and thoughts creep in.
"What if. . .what if we run out of gas?  What if we can't get out of this?  What's going to happen?  What if we're stuck here forever?  What if they're just TELLING us we don't have permission to land but really, the landing gear won't go down???  AAAAAHHHHH!"
(That would be me.  Over analyzing, sensationalizing.) 
I've gotten better about it, my thinking,
but this tired mamas mind can go back there quickly,
plummet and crash land in to the deepest, darkest vortex of fear.
Because I know what it feels to have to surrender to the unknown when you weren't prepared for it, which we never really are, anyway.
But in the deepest sense of the word, what it feels like to be completely broadsided, 
helpless and stuck in a holding pattern.
When a simple cold virus, a cough or feverish night awakens our peaceful slumber,
so often fear, worry, anxious brooding becomes an impossible place to be rescued from,
until we are assured everything will be okay.
Waiting for a child to get better is pure agony for a parent.
Well, me, anyway.
BUT, we're mothers.
We carry on because we have to.
We keep our minds busy, our hands moving,
to distract ourselves from ourselves.
The fear and darkness that walks hand in hand with the intense love and responsibility we carry for our children, 
well, that is how it works.  Can't have one without the other.
All my usual confidence, grace and dignity flies out the window when the kids are sick.
For a mother, there's nothing more downright awful than watching your child suffer.
To be totally helpless against a climbing temperature, 
having to wait for a virus to run its course. 
It can be downright debilitating for them. . .and us.
And maybe I make it even moreso, because of my inclination to take things to the worst possible scenario instead of being FULLY present in just caring for my child, which I'm doing, no less,
but it's SO hard as a parent not to go to those scary places.
I'm SO thankful for the friends who are as crazy as I am,
who do the same thing, who set my mind at ease and remind me, 
no matter WHAT happens in my life, or theirs, we're not alone.
It'll be okay, and you will get through it.
(And P.S.  It could be worse.)
Regardless, it sucks.
When you're in it?  The world that exists outside your current residence of Tylenol, half empty water cups, hand sanitizers and puke buckets, becomes the only thing you know.  A day feels like a year, as you waffle from washer to dryer, dryer to drawer, 
lips to forehead, warm washcloth to cool water,
all in the name of mothering and caring for the lives that are ours.
It is the call and duty of EVERY mother, in ways not even a father can fully realize,
to protect, nurture, care for, nurse back to health the little beings that, 
at the end of the day,
are the reason we breathe, show up each morning and deliver our best.
I love the title of one of my favorite books,"The Gift of An Ordinary Day."
I call it to mind daily,
adopting it and making it my own mantra,
even when noses are running, throats are sore, muscles are aching.
In between the mundane and the chaos of parenting,
when I'm feeling antsy and itching to escape,
there is SO much meaning and truth in those six words,
that call me back.
How every "ordinary day" we have in this life,
IS such a gift.
The "ordinary" days when the car won't start,
the fridge is close to empty,
I really need to get to the dentist,
and the plants need watering. 
My 8-year-old could use some pants that actually meet his ankles 
and my 4-year-old could use some attention. 
But for today, they're healthy.
A gift.
So these days of winter when breath freezes in an instant,
a living room becomes a safe haven,
a place of connection and relaxation.
I allow folding laundry to become a moving meditation,
SOME days, ordinary may feel suffocating and stifling and. . .boring.
MOST days?  It's amazing.  
SO precious it should be paid its due respect every chance we get,
by staying present in it.
I've learned that dusty, old response of "no news is good news,"really IS good news.
Beautiful in all it's ordinary-ness.


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