Sunday, October 23, 2011

When a Mom is Not a Loser

Tonight (it's 4am), I was feeling a little bit like the worst mom in the world.  My little boy is up every few hours to puke for his first bout with stomach-sickness ever.

We used to joke around in my family that because puke is the one thing I positively cannot handle (not even in movies--the WORST scene in The Sixth Sense to me was the puking one) that I better marry a man who could take care of that part of child-raising.  I've never been able to see/hear/smell it without joining in myself.  Is this TMI yet?  It gets better . . .

I thought that after having James do the baby spit-up thing all over me that I was now super-mom and up to anything.  But tonight, reality hit me square in the nose.  James puked.  I rushed in to help.  Larry told me to get away.  I tried to help.  I came; I saw; I ran into the 2nd nearest bathroom and lost my dinner.

Mom fail.

Larry, all night, has been the one holding James as he heaves and the one stripping his bed.  I've been on find-another-sheet and find-more-pjs and get-a-wet-washcloth and double-wash-a-million-loads-of-laundry duty.  In my head, the mom is supposed to be the one who inspires her husband with her heroic level of sacrifice directly with the sick child.  That's always how it was growing up in my family, and I can't thank my mom enough for being that woman.

Tonight, I learned a different (and more essential) truth about the roles of spouses.  Their roles are to support each other and to sacrifice for each other.  If puke is the one thing I can't directly handle, Larry loves me enough not to hold it against me and to pitch in at the crucial moments.  This doesn't mean I ditch him and leave him to handle it all on his own.  It means that we each sacrifice in the middle of the night for the sake of our son in the way that we are able to.  And we both become holier in the process, not by outshining each other in heroism, but in complementing each other's strengths and weaknesses with love and patience.

I read this article tonight as I was trying to eat something to keep my energy levels up for the sake of baby #2 that I'm responsible for protecting inside me right now.  I love how she talks about motherhood as a gift to help us work on our weaknesses, not as a reward for those who are already strong.

It's funny how God can confirm one's vocation in unlikely moments.  As Larry, James, and I slumped on the floor praying a decade of the rosary that Momma Mary would watch over our little guy and help him sleep, I was so happy.  Tired, a little overwhelmed, but so happy because my family loves each other, loves God, and loves me--even when I feel incompetent.  True love is stronger than any illness or inconvenience or failing; it builds up persons (children and adults) and shows the evils of this world to be only passing reminders that we are not yet the people we were created to become.  How merciful God is and how great is our hope in our eternal joy with Him!  Thank you Lord for the grace to transcend the moment, at least for now, and help us all get some needed sleep.  Amen.

[12 hours later: Update--James is doing well, slept beautifully for his nap, and has his appetite and a little energy back.  God is good!  Mommy got a nap too.  :)  ]

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