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Monday, May 12, 2014

the best and worst mother's day ever

I wish I had a post planned for you that shows smiling mothers with their arms draped around each other.  But, alas, in our house that was not the type of day in store for us.

We planned to spend this Mother's Day with my mom and sister so we spent Saturday with Sandi's mom.  Sunday promised to be bright and sunny and WARM and we had plans for cousins screeching outside, lunch on the grill and our girls were all pumped up about giving us breakfast in bed and lavishing us with the homemade gifts that were so plentiful they required an accordion folder to contain them all.

It was going to be a great day.

Then I woke up before 5 with the same roaring headache I had gone to bed with and an upset stomach. I took some medicine and fought to get back to sleep only to wake an hour later with the stomach flu.  I spent the next hour on and off in the bathroom, my hopes for the day dwindling with each heave.

Maya woke up and found me in the bathroom shouting, "Happy Mother's Day! We have breakfast in bed!" which just made my belly spasm more.

I rallied and lay at a distance next to them on the bed as they offered me the banana bread I had made the day before to make this portable breakfast a bit easier.  They offered me strawberries and banana bread with such pride it broke my heart to not be able to share with them.  Sandi also wasn't feeling well and I prayed it was just exhaustion.

The things they made for us were so incredibly sweet.

This was from Maya and the poem reads: "You always clean my fingerprints I leave upon the wall.   I seem to make a mess of things because I am so small.  The years will pass so quickly, I'll soon be grown like you, and all my little fingerprints will surely fade from view.  So here's my special hand print, a memory that's true, so you recall the very day I made this just for you."
 She also put a ton of work into these beauties.
 Ella wrote this poem herself:
"Mothers are there when you feeling sad.  Mothers are there when your feeling glad.  Mothers are there when you skin your knee, also when you get stung by a bumblebee.  They're there when you hop on a trike, there when you hope on a two-wheeled bike."
 And this one she made for me at school.  I'm not sure why she didn't remind her teacher that she has two moms but oh well.

"My mother is wonderful because...
She cooks dinner for me every night.  She folds my laundry.  She loves me."
I cannot tell you what these things did for my heart.  I have been feeling so unappreciated for the mundane tasks I feel like I am wasting my life doing: laundry, groceries, cleaning, cooking, driving.  It has recently reached a new height of discontent for me as I feel like what I'm doing lacks a certain amount of value and meaning.  Sandi has said to me, "You are raising and shaping our kids.  What could be more meaningful than that?"  And then these from the girls... it put a lot of things in perspective for me as I lay on the bed clutching my stomach.

I spent the early part of the day in bed and when I got up Sandi told me she was feeling worse.   She had gone to the store for ginger ale and such and needed to get in bed. I sat outside like a limp rag and watched the girls play baseball.  The sun was shining, they were happy, Ella was actually teaching and nurturing her sister and I told them it was the best Mother's Day gift I could ever have.

Did I mention also that yesterday was the last day of "Screen Free Week" wherein the kids had made a pledge to not watch TV or use any electronic screens for 7 days?  So we couldn't even resort to the TV while we were sick.

Our neighbors, who we now know are saints, had the girls over to play and Sandi and I both were in bed.  We have never before as parents been sick at the same time.   By the afternoon, I was slowly improving and Sandi was getting so much worse with fever, lethargy, headache, sore throat and horrid body aches.    Maya, who had run a low-grade fever through the week began to complain of ear pain that hurt enough she couldn't wear her hearing aid in one ear.

Side note: One of the mornings I had to wake her up for school last week when she was very asleep she wrote me this note at breakfast in protest.  She had been somewhat under the weather all week.  And how cute is this note?

Soon we were in the car to walk-in care, concerned about ear infection and possible influenza.  We all three checked in (me in case I had more than the stomach flu) and poor Ella was doing the best she could to keep a good attitude.

We were in the waiting room for nearly 2 hours during which Trish came and picked Ella up and took her back to her house.  They wouldn't let 2 adults get checked in the same room so I stayed with Maya since I was clearly the less sick parent and Sandi went to a different room.  I wanted to sleep so badly but I had Maya who went from playful and needing corralling to laying on the bed with me with the lights off sobbing into my chest because her ear hurt so much.

This was before she went downhill, while she was still very Maya, sitting at the desk doing my "intake."

By the time the P.A. came in, Maya had been crying for 30 minutes.  When he went to check her ears she began to scream and fight.  I had to physically hold her down.  Soon her breathing was totally compromised and she was croupy.  Awesome.  Insult meet injury.  He told me I was on the slow road to health, just the stomach bug after all, but Maya did have an ear infection likely secondary to the viral thing she had been fighting.  We left with prescriptions for antibiotics and Sandi being swabbed for influenza and a prescription for the Tamiflu she was hoping for (an antiviral that shortens the flu if taken within the first 24 hours of symptoms).

We were there a total of 3 1/2 hours and then needed to wait at the drug store for the prescriptions.  Maya's eyes were so bloodshot from crying and fighting everyone that saw her went, "Ohhhh....." It was nearly 8 and she hadn't even had supper.  Sandi was horribly uncomfortable and desperate to get in bed.  I tried to rally my troops, get Ella, get home to feed Maya and get us all in bed.  As Sandi climbed her way to bed and I cared for the kids even though I wanted to crawl my way too bed behind her, I thought I cannot be sick anymore.  I have to be the one to take care of everyone.

I was so relieved when I finally was laying down.  Ninety minutes later Ella came to get me to tell me Maya was barking.  I got right up to get her nebs.  Sandi got up to turn on the shower for the steam and then had to run to the bathroom to throw up.  Ella was sobbing because she was frightened as her family fell apart.

I finally got Maya back to sleep and got Ella calmed down.  Sandi wasn't in great shape but she was at least not vomiting and was in the bed.  I fell back asleep.  Ella came to get me around 1 saying that she couldn't sleep because she kept having bad dreams about everyone being so sick.  I knew I couldn't put her in our bed next to Sandi. I quickly fashioned her a bed on the floor and she went to sleep.

I slept like a drugged person after that.  Sandi was up and down a bunch, including up at 3 for toast and to scour both of our bathrooms.  I woke to the sound of Maya barking again around 7.   Ella now has a fever.  So we are all at home today.  The only thing missing is the white flag (or is it black?) hanging outside our door.

I would like to think the worst is behind us but I wouldn't ever be so arrogant as to claim that.  I am on my feet but wiped out although eating still doesn't really agree with me.  Sandi is slightly better than yesterday. Maya is croupy and angry from the medication we have given her and Ella just seems a little lost.

It is supposed to be 72 today and I plan to open all the windows and sit out in the sun as much as possible.

We always joked that Mother's Day is kind of a bust for us with no other parent to take it the extra step.  Relying on kids to make something special can be tricky.  But I have to say, I was so very proud of our children yesterday in how they handled a crappy situation with concern and care and understanding.  They showered us with love.  I am so very grateful to call them mine and to have a day to celebrate the special relationship between mother and child.

Even though I definitely think we deserve a Mother's Day redo, I have to say the day was not all bad.   Part of me wanted to feel sorry for myself last night and how the day went from bad to worse to horrible, but I couldn't really muster up the energy.  After all, we were all together, we would all be okay and we took really good care of each other.  Sure, family, sunshine, playing and grilling would have been ideal but in the end, despite its suckiness, this was somehow really okay too.

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