Monday, my daughter was sick-sick. Sick enough to want to be held all day. “I want my mama!” she said, over and over. Crying.
This is the child whom I have to tell “No running!” when we go to the doctor because she is sick. All the other sick babies are sitting quietly on their mothers’ laps, heads hanging in misery. Not mine. So for her to not only consent, but to request, to sit on my lap tells me she was in the throes of one of the worst illnesses of her life. (And yes, I still had to tell her “No running!” when we got to the doctor’s office. That’s just who she is.)
Unfortunately, her brother was also sick, and her father was working, and her grandparents couldn’t help because I didn’t want them to get sick. So it was me, with my one lap and my two sick, clingy babies.*
But there were moments when Kai was happy to play on his own, and I held Anya like a baby and rocked her. I kissed her burning forehead and smoothed her hair, rubbed her back and her little feet, And I told her all the things that I think and feel every single day, yet get lost in the “No”s of rambunctious preschoolerhood. How sweet and smart and funny she is. How happy she makes me. That she is my first baby, the child that made me a mother, and how special she will always be to me because of that. How proud I am of the little girl she is, and the big girl she is becoming. How much I learn from her, every single day. How very, very much I love her, and always will.
I talked her to sleep in this manner. And she slept with a sweet, gentle, slightly surprised smile on her face. It gives me a pang, that surprise. I want her to know how I feel about her. Without question. But life happens, and things like pee in the trash can and lip balm on the wall, little toys in the living room and food in the bathroom happen, and I spend my day saying “No…stop that…no…put that down…no…you know better…no, no, NO!”
My frustration comes through loud and clear. But not my joy.
I must work on that.
*Expecting moms: If you’re looking at a rocker and you think “no, that’s way too big,” buy it. I bought one that “fit” me and my pregnant belly, not thinking of additional children. Now I really wish I’d bought the papa bear chair. And if your budget can withstand the hit, buy leather. Trust me on this.