My husband wakes me up.
“Lola is calling for you,” he says.
Instantly, I’m annoyed. I mutter under my breath about wanting more sleep and stumble out of bed. The clock says 12:35 a.m.
“Mommy,” she cries out again.
I stumble down the hall, and the second I smell it, I know what has happened. Instantly, my entire body and mind are awake.
“Oh poor baby,” I say.
There is a big pile of throw up on the bedspread and she is crying.
“I was trying to figure out how to clean it myself,“ she says. “I’ve ruined Mother’s Day. I’m sorry mom.”
No. This is motherhood my love. This is exactly what it is.
I grab a clean blanket from the hall, strip her and put her in it. I clean everything up, put her in some clean pajamas, remake the bed, grab the sick bowl and make myself a place next to her on the floor. I settle in for the routine that I know so well.
Every time she throws up, I rub her back, wash her face and comfort her.
Drink this water.
You will be OK.
I’m right here.
I love you.
When she falls asleep, I rest on the floor and worry.
This is motherhood.
I still get my avocado toast and coffee in bed, but today I’m next to my sick girl who likes to keep her hand on my chest because it comforts her.
I feel her little body tremble with excitement as I open the gifts she crafted herself; a tissue paper flower, a little dog and a large cat created out of paper, a card with a heart wearing a sombrero and guitar (because she knows I like things that are funny) and a beeswax rose.
“You like it?” she asks.
Of course I do.
My boy delivers his gift and it is so perfectly him that I can’t help but swoon.
This is motherhood.
We decide to cuddle in bed and watch our favorite episodes of “Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.” Both kids inch in as close as they can to me. I can feel their breath and warmth as we talk about puppetry, mechanism and our favorite designers. We vow to someday make our own puppet and giggle as we discuss the silly details and features our creature will have.
My mom comes over with hugs and kisses for us all. I make her coffee and she gives me a piece of paper with my “Letter A” on it. She snuggles in with us for an episode or two. I give her the bench we crafted for her and she loves it.
After she leaves, my girl’s fever spikes up and I hold her as she cries and whimpers.
“I hate being sick,” she says.
“I know love,” I tell her.
I make her peppermint tea. I braid her hair so it won’t get in her face. She rubs my chest as she falls asleep in my arms, a little furnace fighting off the virus in her body.
This, of course, was not the plan for my day. I was supposed to go swimming, play cards, drink mimosas and be outdoors. It was to be chore-free, stress-free and full of sweet things to eat.
But that wasn’t what happened.
There was a time, quite recent in fact, that this setback would have sent me spiraling down into a place of sadness and loneliness. I’d have let myself be swallowed up.
Surprisingly, I’m good.
My heart is filled with so much love for my children that it feels like it just might burst. These not-so-little beings that I get to spend so much time with are my life.
They are my Mother’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not happy my girl is sick, far from it. But I’m making a choice to savor the moments of care and comfort I can give her, instead of focusing in on what I missed.
Today, my arms showed her my love.
Today, my voice was her sense of peace.
I am her safe place.
I am her feel better soon.
I am her mommy.
Happy Mother’s Day.