Friday, November 30, 2012

Tis the season...for germs.  Time to stuff the stockings with Purrell and trim the tree with Kleenex, right?  Oh man, it seems like just about everywhere I turn someone is coughing or sniffling.  I'm feeling MUCH better (thank you, Lord!) than a few days ago, but awoke Wednesday morning to a sick husband and a sick baby!  (Somehow my three-year-old, Matilda, is so far getting through this week unscathed.  My best guess is that her super-human energy allows her to dodge most germs simply out of sheer speed!)

If anything trumps not feeling's watching those you love not feel well.  Luckily, a couple long naps, vitamins, and decongestants seemed to ward off any real health villains for my husband; but, unfortunately the baby has not been so triumphant.  Is there anything worse than a sick baby?

What's worse (in my book, anyway) is that she didn't catch a cold...she caught a tummy flu bug.  UGH!  Wah-waaaah.  The poor sweetie bear.  Again, the only thing worse than cleaning up disgusting germs is having to watch your pitiful little 16-month-old stare at you blurry-eyed with her sad gaze of "Why mommy?" going unanswered.  Gosh, it just breaks my heart!

Having two kids and one of them be sick is a whole other ball game.  Instead of the usual Get off your sister, you're killing her! you have to referee them with a new initiative:  Don't touch your sister, you'll get sick!  You have to quarantine them both the best you can and about halfway through the day - by the time the sick one has sneezed on the other one, they've accidentally swapped sippy cups, and you catch them cuddling and just can't bear to break up the love-fest...well, you just cross your fingers and pray the plague doesn't go any further.  What's a mom to do?

Taking care of a sick baby is such a weird, odd, terrible little gift that I think God gives us moms.  I mean, it's awful, for sure.  If I could bubble-wrap my kids and shampoo them in Purrell, I'm sure I would, don't get me wrong.  It only takes one heinous Yankee-candle-of-all-diapers to convince you that baby-flu-bug is certainly the doing of the Devil himself.  Ugh.

But, since we do live in a fallen world where illness exists, why not take this moment to try and recognize God among the yuckiness?  Anything's possible here.  So, honestly, I feel the presence of Jesus when I am stopped COLD in my footsteps to throw everything else out the window in that moment and care for my baby.  Dishes stink.  Clothes rumple.  Floors crumb-up.  Whatever.

Daphne has not been able to nap in her crib the last two days.  Not a wink.  I'll rock or nurse her completely to sleep, multiple times, but as soon as I lay her down she springs up screaming and won't stop.  The only way she has been able to sleep during the day has been cuddled up ON me.  The first time was heartwrenchingly wonderful.  Endearing.  The kinds of moments you dream about as a mother.

The next few times...well, it progressively got awkward and a bit burdensome.  With an energetic 3-year old vying for attention, it just wasn't exactly the ideal situation.  Not only that, but when you have a 22 lb. anchor on your chest you can't exactly get anything done during the day.  This is when it occurred to me:  Shut up, Emily.  Sit still.  Look at your baby.  

Whoa, okay.  Right.  Put the iPhone down and focus on the present.  WHY is this so hard to do?  (Granted, I was glad I had the phone there just to capture the moment!)  I want to remember that feeling.  I wish I was the kind of person who never needed to be forced to STOP and smell the roses (or the baby), but I am.  I'm just so grateful that I could soak that up, as best I could (even if there was a dancing Matilda in the background at times) and allow that baby to smother her germy self into my body for that moment.

How many times does this happen in our lives?  How much longer will she turn to me for that amount of comfort?

It's such a challenge to hold still these days.  It's increasingly difficult to be thankful for tiny things like fragile babies with vomit-covered jammies and greasy hair and diaper rash.  It's frustrating to have our daily schedules overturned and interrupted and entirely disregarded.'s so insanely worth it.

We always talk about how this baby/toddler stage of life goes by in a blink.  But, you know, if we can just slow down once in a while (even if that's only when the germs of life slow them down) then we get to capture a silent, beautiful moment where nothing else in the world matters but this sacred, sweet gift of our very own baby needing us for who we are - mom.  It may go by in a blink...but, we're in the midst of it right now...the part where your eyes are closed and you can still hear your heart beating outside your body.  Inhale, exhale.  Everything can wait.

I hope I remember this moment.  Maybe it's even contagious.

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