Gently and tentatively, like someone who has been abused and beaten, I poke my head from the wreckage of this week. If I move to quickly, I fear drawing attention to myself and iring the FluGods to throw yet more my way.

The rhythmic thump and bump of the dryer sets the tempo of our house this morning,  and the washer humms and whirrrs as it ever so slowly and diligently chews though the mountain of towels, sheets and knotted clothes. Thinking on the  miracle of modern laundry machines, I consider them quite possibly a tender mercy of the Lord.

Sounds of my children float over the monitor, and gone are the painful noises of the last week, the spaces filled in with chirping, warbling, silver laughter. I hear my husband playing with Abby, growling and tickling her, as her giggling rise and fall with the bubbles he blows on her belly.

The best laid plans were laid waste this week. The holiday away was pushed aside, along with a great deal of disappointment, as I submitted my will to the needs of my family. It was hard as rocks, but I know I did the right thing. To everything there is a season, and all that.

Part of me wants to kick and cry like my children do- but I wanted certain things. I wanted my weekend away, I wanted to be with friends and play at being a grown up, intellectual for just the weekend. I wanted to have dinner uninterrupted. I wanted to pretend barf and poop were not major players in my life. I wanted. I wanted

And it just doesn’t matter what I wanted.

A big part of being a mother is subjugating what you want to the needs of others. I’m not talking unhealthy martyrdom- I’m talking the reality of life with small children who cannot care for themselves- who haven’t the faintest idea what to even do for the needs of their sick bodies. Children who cannot change diapers, clean or even feed themselves. All of these are needs, and they surely supersede any want I may have.

Certainly my husband is a capable, caring and wonderful dad. He’s been folding laundry and changing beds right along with me- he cancelled a business trip to facilitate my planned weekend away. Neither of us got what we had planned.

So here I am. I have three children and have been a mother for five years. And I finally understand what that means.

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