an irrational mother’s job is never done

I don’t sleep well when Elle’s sick.  Every move she makes in her sleep prompts me to grab a bucket and stick it by her face, just in case she gets sick while she’s out cold.  Not much wakes her up, but this time when she jerked around in her bed, I rushed to her side only to find her breathing.  No night sweats, no signs of discomfort (except in me), only breathing.  Breathing is a good thing, though.  I need to learn how to just breathe. 

In fact, tonight is the first night Elle has gone to bed with a sick tummy in her own room.  I will usually set up camp with her, me in my bed and her on the floor over a plush comforter, and keep a bucket nearby.  Anytime I drift off to sleep, I am easily awakened by her grinding her teeth or mumbling something in her dreams and I’m right there, RIGHT FREAKIN’ THERE, asking her, “Are you okay?  Do you feel alright?” and if she’s actually in the process of getting sick, she’ll take a 2-second breather just to tell me to “Shut up, Mom!”

Elle’s a tough kid.  Nothing like me.  I still want my mommy around, rubbing my back and holding my hair out of the way while I do what I need to do.  I would never dream of telling my mom to shut up but would instead insist upon her holding my hand and sharing the bed with me when I’m all done because, deep down inside, I still feel like a 5-year old when I have a tummy ache. 

See, I’m a vomitphobe.  The fact that I can be so darned caring and hands-on when my child is sick kind of blows me away.  Of course, I tend to cut out the kid-cuddling and I stop eating for a day or two (because, in my mind, no food = can’t be sick) even though I know that’s my failed logic talking.  Some people are afraid of spiders and redheads.  Others have perfectly acceptable phobias such as public speaking or dying.  Me?  Yeah, this is mine.  But considering I have two dogs, two cats, and a kid, I’m usually cleaning up someone’s barf a few times a day.  It gets old.

Right now I’m hoping for the best.  Elle played outside at day camp all day in a 110-degree heat index.  She admitted to me later tonight that she didn’t drink any water in the afternoon.  When I brought her home, she had dinner and was back outside again, riding her bike and ignoring all the signs of dehydration.  I’m truly hoping all she needs is a cool rag over her head, a constant supply of cold drinking water, and some good old-fashioned rest. 

Elle’s been in bed since 8:15 and asleep since 10:00.  Obviously, this whole sick-to-the-stomach thing isn’t bothering her as much as it’s bothering me.

Ugh.  Why can’t I be normal?


About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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