Monday is our Family Day, the anniversary of us meeting Bambina and becoming a family. I cannot believe it has been three years since her nanny placed her in my arms. And, besides the whole bone-marrow-failure-almost-died-stem-cell-transplant thing, it has been the most awesome and fun three years of my life. Bambina is the greatest thing to ever happen to me, and don't I know it every single time I look at her and just know that she and I were meant to be together.
For those of you without kids, that's the soft-focus, big-picture view of parenthood, every word of it true. What follows is also true. It reflects more of the daily realities of parenthood:
Bambina was sick this weekend with what we thought was the flu. A couple of vomits, lots of crying, and an ER visit later, it's not. Which is good news for her AND for me. But it was so exhausting being up in the middle of the night trying to make her feel better, trying to figure out specifically what was hurting her, trying to determine whether this is something routine or something more concerning, having her kick me away, calling the doctor, and then finally deciding that we needed to get her to a hospital because she was getting worse and worse. I felt so bad for her, especially because she had never barfed before, so it was not only miserable for her to be vomiting but it was freaking her out too trying to understand what had just happened. And then, through her anguish, she flashed that spirit we love--and contend with: "Mama, why are you changing your clothes?" "Because they have vomit all over them, sweet girl." You could not have imagined a more offended look, like, "you don't like my vomit all over you?!" Then she lapsed back into screaming/crying--and I do mean screaming--that her head was hurting, which completely freaked ME out, since headaches and vomiting are never good together, medically speaking. So she's got a bacterial infection and potentially a viral infection too. Luckily she's back to her usual self today, if a bit subdued and laconic. But I'm not. Every time your kid gets sick, it takes a little piece of you. It's jokingly called, "getting gray hairs" but it feels more like an ulcer forming as you wait to hear what's making your generally unflappable child cry uncontrollably and inconsolably. It's pretty much total effing misery as you do everything in your power and via every sensory vehicle to reassure your kid that she's okay, all the while feeling the acid of fear rise in your throat. It's fear like you've never felt before.
But you know what? I wouldn't trade back one single ulcer, nascent or otherwise. I wouldn't take back all the sleep I've missed (and continue to miss). I wouldn't change a minute or a detail of the past three years. I'll sleep when I'm dead. I'll work out again when she's in college. I'll tastefully and elegantly decorate my new home when little people are no longer riding their scooters through it and using the couch as a Ninja Warrior jump-off point. Until then, I'm just trying to savor (if not always enjoy in the moment) this amazing and wonderful and deeply satisfying thing called motherhood.
More than gems in my comb box shaped by the God of the Sea,
I prize you, my daughter
--Otomo no Sakanoue Iratsume
UPDATE: And so we arrive home at 2:30am after another evening at the ER with Bambina. She woke up and started barking coughing and struggling to breathe--also known as croup--so we tried the head in the freezer thing which didn't work. So we hopped in the car and revisited the ER to get her some relief. I sat in the car, as usual. Boo. And now we are all in bed. Finally.