Over the last week three of my four kiddos have been sick. And not your run-of-the-mill sniffles mind you, but serious sickness including violent barfing and liquid poo. (sorry, there's just no nice way to say that) It is in these moments of motherhood, between changing nasty bed sheets, bathing a feverish child for the fourth time at 2AM, and catching a night's sleep 15 minutes at a time, that I am reminded of my own mom, who tirelessly did the same for me and my four sisters not so many years ago.
Regrettably, my mom and I have a somewhat strained and distant relationship now. I am not entirely different than I once was, but I am changed. I have left the church and embraced the synagogue. I have raised my children with different convictions and values. I have embarked with my husband, on a new path- very different from the one I walked while growing up in my parent's home. We have difficulty discussing things, because the things that are most precious to me are the things that separate us. I know my mom loves me, but a person needs a lot more than "knowing." I want to be shown. There have been times in my life that I have needed my mother's encouragement, and my mother's arms more than anything else in the world...and she has not been there. My son, Silas, went through neurosurgery six times in his first year of life, and though the hospital was only a 50 minute drive away, I sat at his bedside alone. I am not sure why it is so difficult for my mom to reach out to me as an adult. Somehow I think she feels her job of "parenting" stopped when I moved out. But I need her still.
I guess that's why today, my memories return to her. As a child, when I was sick, I couldn't imagine anything better than being taken care of by my mom. She always made a comfy spot for her little sick one on the living room couch, complete with a puffy comforter, pillow, books, and 7-UP with soda crackers. She would sit beside me and cool my head with a washcloth, and always ask me if I needed anything..I always felt very taken care of and loved when I was sick, and it made the time almost special somehow, even while it was miserable...
My mother has given me that. I'll always look back on those times with a sense of appreciation, especially now as a mom who has had a fair share of scrubbing up vomit from carpet, and late nights worrying about fevers. It's not an easy job, but my mom taught me how to handle it with patience, love and selflessness. Remember that Moms! The sick days may be the ones your children's memories come to cherish, if only we fill them with the warmth and love only a mother can give.