Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Loving Our Children Like We Do When They're Sick

There are no clammy brows, flushed cheeks, or glazed eyes in my house this week.  No nights spent listening for the sound of tears outside my bedroom door or for feet padding to the bathroom at alarming hours.  No nocturnal barking cough that only slows when suppressed in a codeine-induced sleep.  No sheets, blankets, and towels reeking with the noxious odor of last night's supper revisited, fumes that make me want to just burn everything rather than rinse it off outdoors before placing load upon load in my washer and dryer.

This week has been calm on the health front.

After two weeks of one virus after another, this road-weary mother is quite thankful to be hanging up her Florence Nightingale hat and returning to the regularly scheduled programming wherein she dons the usual hats of wife, mother, and teacher. 

There's something inexplicably wonderful about returning to the monotonous routine of daily life after an illness.  In those moments of calm after the storm, I always find that the repetition I chafed at days before (and will, again, I know) suddenly seems so sweet.  The cadence of rote hours, the fluid dance of a perfectly working household wherein I wind up the time piece at the rising of the sun and move through the automated routine until slowly pirouetting to a halt at day's end--it is all beautiful.

I have been perfectly content these past two days as I've sought to reestablish a sense of normalcy, to reclaim what ground was lost and move forward.  Progress.  My daughter, however, has sought to pull me back into the patterns we fall into during illness. 

"Can we watch another movie today?"

"Sorry.  We don't need a movie. You're well again and can play."

"Am I going to read to you tonight?"

"Sure.  You're well again.  Besides, I love it when you read to me."

"Are we having soup for lunch?"

"No.  We're having our usual peanut butter.  But would you like jelly instead of honey?"

All throughout the day, we repeat this dance with her asking to return to the lifestyle we led when she was sick and me drawing her back into the present, always, it seems, giving the answer she doesn't want and drawing her frown.

In late afternoon after big brother Wyatt and I finish up his homework, she comes to me again.

"Can you come lay down with me?"

She is remembering back to last week when she really needed a nap but wouldn't take one, as usual.   Instead of letting her fall asleep on the floor somewhere mid-play, I had turned on the white noise machine in her room, closed the door and curtains tight to block out the piercing daylight, and crawled beneath the covers with her.

Together, we had shared one pink pillow, our foreheads touching as she curled into me, her hand gently rubbing along my arm that wrapped around to draw her close.  Slowly, her body grew heavy with her breathing's deepening. There, we snuggled together until I unlaced myself from her embrace and crept quietly out the door.

Today, she was asking for that moment repeated more than she was admitting to being tired.

Supper was still a ways off.  Why not?

Amelia's smile spread to her eyes as I took her hand and walked up the stairs to her room.  Again in the mommy-created darkness, she drew up the covers beneath our chins and turned into my shoulder, repeating that moment of comfort and love I'd lavished upon her when she needed it most. 

All those questions throughout the day--all my daughter was really after was that extra bit of love I shower her with when she's ill.  Once well, she knew that "something extra" her mother pauses to give during times of crisis would vanish, and in her own way, she was begging for me to continue loving her like that, to continue loving her more.

What difference might it make in my children's lives if in the midst of training them up in the Lord, I kept pausing to say "yes" to their requests, to love them as much as I do when they are sick? To simply stop in the lessons, explanations, and detailed reasonings to just love?

A 15 minute non-nap snuggle between mother and daughter.  That's something I can still continue to give.

Even if we do all have a clean bill of health.

1 comment:

  1. Praise God. This is excellent as usual. wow. This taught me something.