Hundreds, maybe thousands, of times since I became a mother, I have thought or said, "This is the best_____ ever!" Fill in the blank with day, moment, stage, milestone, baby, story, etc. Children just bring on a lot of bests. Sweet, fun, witty, loving, amazing, and an immediate view into God's grace... my children are these things and more and of course that means there are a lot of 'bests'.
But loving these two little people so deeply and fiercely means that sometimes it won't be sweet or fun because I have to deal with them hurting and that hurts me. I recently had a four day stretch in which I thought, "This is the worst ____ ever." Fill in the blank with night, moment, hour, illness, etc. Both kids contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease complete with 103 degree fevers, horrid looking mouth sores, tears, sleepless nights, vomiting, and a desperate need to cuddle. Add the three teeth trying to cut through Little Lady's gums and a simultaneous bad case of strep throat for Mini Me, and we had ourselves a lot of pain. I doled out medicine, I rocked, I racked my brain for soft, cold, smooth things to eat or drink. I held both kids so much - sometimes the 38 pound preschooler and the 22 pound baby at the same time - that on the third day I went to bed feeling like I'd been training for a sporting event with my arms and back throbbing. I cleaned up, I washed laundry, I wiped tears (theirs and mine), I sang songs, and I tried to keep it together. I worried. I was sleepless. We had to cancel a trip home to see our families and celebrate Little Lady's first birthday. I saw both of my children lose it and hit the major tantrum stage; her over a dropped toy and him having to share a banana with his sister. They saw me lose it when it was 3:00 pm and almost all of us were still in our pajamas and I had barely slept the night before: Why won't you just do the mouthwash medicine? It will make your throat stop hurting. Just do it already! In an effort to calm down and focus, I repeated to myself, "They are sick, they hurt, when you hurt every little thing is magnified, be patient, Mommy is the one person on the entire planet they want and need to soothe them." Desperately needed though I was, I felt like I was doing a crummy job of patiently mothering my sick babies.
Now past us, I feel comfortable marking those as the worst four days of my motherhood. Ever the optimist (some say it's denial but I think not), I think that it won't get any worse than that, and I'll grit my teeth and politely disagree if any experienced mothers try to tell me, "Just wait until they ______. " Fill in the blank with break a bone, go to school, stay out too late, go to college, etc. Nope, our experience with the coxsackie virus is going to be the worst. *wink wink*
Despite those "worst" four days, I'm one of those annoying optimists who can even find the "best" in the worst:
As I was mopping the floor after a vomiting episode, Mini Me asked me, "Are you going to get carried away and sweep every room in the house?"... a quote from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I couldn't help but be in awe of his ability to quote literature, and his memory and wit, even as he felt so crummy.
And even though it was exhausting, I felt a unique and special connection every time I picked Little Lady up and she stopped crying instantly. She wanted no one but me because I'm her mommy and even when it's the worst time, I'm the best thing for her.
Let Me Start By Saying...
4 hours ago