Rx: Parenthood

Monday, October 3, 2011

Well, I'm just getting over a brutal cold. I've successfully made it through the "throat-on-fire" stage, coasted past the "did-I-just-sneeze-out-my-brain?" phase, and am nearing final departure of the "just-stop-coughing-just-make-yourself-stop-coughing-enough-already" grand finale. Aren't colds just the loveliest? Ahem.

I hate being sick. I mean, it is silly to even mention because frankly, I don't know anyone who enjoys being sick...but, seriously, isn't it just the worst?

Actually, I do sort of remember liking sick days. Remember when you would wake up a bit feverish and your mom would come in your room to check in on why you haven't come down for breakfast only to find you still in your pajamas...and you were cringing and rejoicing on the inside all at the same time because you knew no matter how awful you felt that it still meant you could skip school so you didn't have to endure Mrs. Alber's PE class of "Sweatin it to the Oldies with Richard Simmons" for the fourth time that week???? (C'mon, don't you remember that? No? Just me? Hmm. Okay then.)

But, you know the feeling. Sometimes there are things worse than being sick. Sometimes we'll take a raw sore throat over that book report we've been dreading, or that big meeting at work, or that lunch date with what's-her-face who only calls you when she needs a favor... And when I was growing up, sick days were a respite from the daily chores of life - of homework - of school time drama. Days when I could just curl up on my couch, kleenex in hand, and watch 4 hours of Anne of Green Gables followed by a long nap and a cup of tea. Ah, those were the days.

And those days are long, long over.

This time last week I was just thanking God that I only had a cold! That I could drink coffee with my sudafed (which I'm still not sure is the best thing, but it didn't kill me, so it can't be that bad, right?) and still care for my kids under the haze of congestion weighing on my head.

Now, instead of resting, drinking fluids, and blowing my nose - I'm constantly sanitizing everything I touch, nursing my daughter between vitamin C boosting juice breaks, and am suddenly fine with Matilda climbing up that chair if it means she is quiet for one minute longer...what...wait a minute...maybe you should get down from there. I'm losing focus again.
Did I mention my 2 month old still wakes up a good three or four times a night? Whew.

There are no decongestants strong enough to un-congest the chaos of your life while you are sick.

All of this, to me, falls in that category of life that is: the things they don't tell you to expect when you are going to have kids, and even if they did tell you, you can't really imagine it until you are there. Bottomline: it is a challenge to be a parent when you are sick.

And yet, you just keep going. Sick or not. That is one of the many things about motherhood that astounds me the most. There are mothers everywhere - we all know mothers, or ARE mothers - and these women, whether they look like they have it all together or not - are still functioning. Daily. They are keeping young persons alive, living and breathing, and consistently losing sleep, time, sanity, even hair over doing so...some of them are even working, volunteering, not to mention keeping up with dishes, laundry, cooking and other mundane necessities...and they just keep going. Mothers are like some powerful machine/zombie combo that just won't stop. Oh yeah - and I'm one of them?!? That hasn't quite hit me yet.

Women - how are we doing this on, like, three hours of sleep? How?

The only theory that makes sense is that these little beings we care for - these children - must have some kind of healing, restorative power in them that somehow rejuvenates our constant desire to maintain and care for them. (After all, they are lucky they are cute, right? Maybe their secret is in their smiles.)

As much as I love sleep (and boy, do I) my need for it is instantly diminished in the tiniest of yelps from my sweet baby. As much as I love to eat (and boy, do I) my hunger pangs dissipate the moment my child cries out. And as much as I love myself (you fill in the blank) I'm transformed into an uncharacteristically selfless creature who will fight tigers with my bare hands any time my babies are in need.


Maybe motherhood is the best medicine after all. Now, go take two children and call me in the morning. Wait...that didn't come out right.

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