After all those years of my mom taking care of me, picking me up when I had fallen down, giving me the confidence I needed to succeed, and then letting me off into my own worlds while giving gentle guidance along the way, I can honestly say I never truly appreciated her as much as I did when my kids got sick.
My son has only been sick three times in his life, and every time my mom was there to help my family pick up the pieces and get well.
The first time he got sick, he was only five days old, and had developed a virus, eventually causing a heart condition and causing us to pick up our lives and drive a few hours away to the best children’s hospital in the country. After what I believe was the longest month of my life and the most trying thing I will ever experience as a new mother, our prayers were answered and my son’s virus and heart condition seemed to “disappear” over night. Talk about a test of faith. Nothing will ever challenge you or make you as vulnerable than who you become when your kid is very sick. Throughout every phone call, every piece of news from doctors, every visit, and every tear, my mom was there for us. I never truly appreciated her until that moment.
Months later when my son was 100% cured and healthy, and my husband just happened to be away on business, James developed a horrible cold. I know; every kid gets colds. I knew he would get sick eventually and he would be fine because it would build up his immune system. That doesn’t make it any easier! He had a terrible cough, stuffy runny nose, and was all around cranky. To make matters worse, we had a gas leak in our furnace the same week AND I was 5 months pregnant. My mom was there every step of the way to help me help him. She was there to buy a wedge for his crib so that he could breathe easier, to provide the Vicks he needed for his stuffy nose, and to sit with me while I cried because I was so worried about him. He recovered quickly, and we went on with life; but I had a deeper appreciation for my mom at that moment.
Fast forward to this week in our house. My son caught a nasty stomach bug sometime over the weekend and by Monday night was puking his brains out. My husband was gone again for work, but this time I had two babies – 17 months and 4 months. Luckily I had my mom as well. She quickly put on her “Super Mom” cape and ran to our rescue. She cleaned my house vigorously and helped with loads of dirty laundry while I cuddled my toddler, she looked after the baby while I slept for a few hours, and she ran to the store for Pedialyte and crackers.
Not only has she helped me navigate the world of having sick kids on my own with guidance, but she has taught me how to be the best mom I can be. She even offered to stay home from work when my daughter and I caught the bug, but luckily I have a pretty awesome husband who I am also grateful for. Becuase we all know how terrible it is to be a sick mom! Unfortunately, we don’t get to take sick days, even though all we want to do is hide under the covers. I have truly never appreciated my mom as much as I did this week, and I realize how hard it was on her all those years ago.
Although I may not say thank you enough, and sometimes find her overbearing, I now know how hard she worked all of my life to keep me happy and healthy; because now I am doing the same for my kids.
When we are sick, mothers rock us to sleep as babies, put pretty bandaids on our cuts as toddlers, spend hours finding the most delicious liquids to feed us when we have strep throats as kids, lay with us when we just need a hug as teenagers, and help take care of our children when we become mothers.
Mothers are strong. Mothers are compassionate. Mothers are LOVE. And mothers who become grandmothers are even more unbelievably remarkable. So go hug your mom tonight; I’m definitely going to.