Last night, I spent Mother’s Day smoothing the hair on my four year old’s forehead as he nodded off in my arms. I watched his peaceful face as he slept and felt the heft of his big boy weight in my arms remembering how different it felt when they were but wee babes, drunk on breastmilk and marking the crook of my elbow with their baby scent so that hours later I could still get a hit of that delicious smell. After the hubby helped lift him into bed last night and tucked him in, we got back to the business of cleaning up the vomit (truly, the hubby deserves a medal for handling most of the ick work).
My four year old suffers from migraines. It’s been several months since we had one and I was beginning to relax into the normal of their absence. Then, after dinner he announced his head hurt “on the inside.” I rushed to get the ibuprofen in him, hoping it would be in time. I put him in his jammies, laid the towels over the pillows, turned off all the lights and watched as he quickly declined from my energetic, giggling boy to a pitiful, whimpering mess who didn’t even so much as smirk at the pigeon begging for a puppy, a book that normally has him howling with laughter.
The medicine wasn’t in time. But after finally emptying his poor little tummy, he passed out in my arms on the bathroom floor and today, he’s back to himself, although home from school so I can ensure he’s taking it easy and pumping that water back into his system.
It wasn’t pretty, but it only highlighted what it is to be a mom. It isn’t just flowers and pancakes and hand written notes. It’s not even being teacher or friend or playmate. At the crux of it, it’s being the one that they want to hold onto when they feel so bad. The one that knows just how to rub their backs so they feel better. The one who knows how many blankets they need to feel safe. The one you instinctively want when the world is confusing, scary or painful. The one who kisses the boo boos and shoos the monsters out of closets and provides a haven of comfort and love.
Although I’m sad he suffered through this again and I wish we could have avoided it all together, I am grateful for the reminder that despite the tantrums, the smart mouths, the continuous pleading to clean their rooms, they still need a mama’s lap, a mama’s arms and a mama’s love.
And today, I get the added joy of seeing my not-so-baby-anymore-baby return to his silly self. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift.
Well, maybe a laundry service.