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.

11 thoughts on “Surfacing

  1. You totally get it. 🙂

    Thank you for this reminder! I’m sorry you had such a hard week (been there!) but I’m glad you came out unscathed, on top and even educated a little bit. You are amazing.

  2. Growing up never gets any easier, does it?
    You’re doing it pretty gracefully though.
    Still so sorry that you didn’t get what you want. Hopefully it isn’t always that way. Your “want” to have adult members will at some point need to be promoted to “need” status, but I guess the trick is knowing when that time has come.

  3. After being at home for SEVEN WEEKS with sick children I finally get it, too. I learned that I won’t die if I can’t be out and about. That the house won’t swallow me up and the importance of just being there to help them heal. It was a tough lesson to learn for someone as active as myself but an invaluable one.

  4. “I have three children and have been a mother for five years. And I finally understand what that means.” That’s one of the most accurate things I’ve ever read. And the really fascinating thing is that every time we understand the depth of motherhood, it gets deeper. I feel your disappointment, but so admire your understanding that it’s not unhealthy martyrdom…Thanks for sharing this insightful post. And by the way, your first couple paragraphs describing your emergence fromt he week are poetry. Love it.

  5. Amen. It’s a very hard thing to realize it’s not about your choices anymore. That’s something I struggle with still. It’s about doing the noble, righteous thing, and it takes these little instances to remind us sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Tracy, I am sorry that you have had sickies too. We have been battling this since October. I can’t remember a time when we have had the kids this sick for so long.

    I am also sorry that you missed your trip. I know that the kids were sick and they are little, etc and you just couldn’t do it, but I am glad that you are the kind of mom that does do things for herself. It is important that we nurture the non-mom part of us so we can go back to mothering feeling less resentful and more enthusiastic. I can’t wait to hear all about the trip when you DO take it…I know you will.

  7. I just got caught up on your sicknesses… I feel your pain. I’m so glad you are all surfacing though. And another grown-up weekend will come around at a different time.

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