Sunday, February 6, 2011

Completely, Ridiculously, Embarrassingly Useless

I don't always meet my own expectations of what a loving mother ought to do. Especially when the call of duty arrives in the middle of the night.

She came into our bedroom around two am and whispered, I'm scared mommy. But what she meant was, I don't feel well. At first I didn't understand that she was sick, and I allowed her to slide in next to me only because taking her back to her bedroom felt harder. She snuggled up against me breathing puffs of warm air directly into my face, and that's when I became annoyed enough to wake up all the way. I felt her forehead and groaned. Great. We've had strep throat at our house this week. And another one bites the dust.

Photo Credit
My husband possesses a certain gentleness, and patience of the soul that remains in control no matter the time of day. So when he suddenly awoke and realized the child squished between us was feverish he leaped into action. Motrin. Her special blanket. A cup of water. Anything he can do to make her more comfortable. Meanwhile, her hot little body was pasted against mine, and while he scurried around doing the errands I just stared at the ceiling, exhausted and irrationally annoyed:

Why can't little kids be sick in their own beds? It's not like sleeping half on top of me fixes anything.

Why can't she hold still? Does she have to twitch and wiggle like that? Couldn't they invent some sort of harmless shock collar so that I can zap her into holding still?

Why do kids always get sick at night? Why did I even have kids? This is so not worth it.

Now they're all going to get sick and this week is going to be just as hard as last week, and life is never going to be normal again. And I'm probably never even going to get a good night's sleep again.

This is not what I signed up for.

I finally drifted back to sleep. An hour later the little body sat up and shrieked, "I need to throw up." Before she even finished her sentence I leaped straight up in the air, jumped out of bed, and ran into the bathroom. I turned in a full circle trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing as my husband sprinted past, little girl in his arms. Happily she made the goal- no thanks to me. My husband asked me retrieve her glass of water and I stood there trying to undersand what he was saying. Confused, I handed him a face towel. He gave me a strange look and then went in to get the glass of water himself. She was too sick to sleep and so he took her downstairs to the couch, kindly suggesting that I crawl back into bed.

This morning it was my turn to hold her and smooth her hair off of her face. This morning I thought how nice it is when she sits quietly in my arms, content to be snuggled. This is so worth it, I thought. But this morning I mostly felt grateful that I am only completely, ridiculously, embarrassingly useless by moonlight, and with the rising sun comes the chance to do better.


  1. I am also completely, ridiculously, embarrassingly useless by moonlight. I know how you feel. Sorry you have a sick kid.

  2. This made me laugh, Our house has been a sick house this week as well, as Parker's tummy bug turned into Mummy having a tummy bug. We have found out that Parker is a much better patient than mummy is, well so Daddy says, I did say i hope you get it to but no such luck. Mean mummy.x

  3. My complete inability to function on no sleep or when woken in middle of the night is the number one reason parenting terrifies me ( though not the number one reason that I dnt have kids!!)!


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