It’s 2am and my head rests on your stuffed giraffe. I shift uncomfortably on the floor next to your bed and listen to your breathing.
The coughs and wheezes have subsided. I breath a sigh of relief. Your poor little body just needs to rest, and I pray that your tired eyes will stay shut until the sun rises through your window. I rest my hand on your forehead and stare at the ceiling. I’m not going anywhere.
Remember that night your little tummy couldn’t hold anything down? I know, it would be hard to forget. I changed your sheets twice and made sure the water was warm before I lifted you in the tub to rinse off. The clock said 1:20am, but it didn’t matter. My mind said I had a little boy…an exhausted, sick little boy who needed his mother. It didn’t matter that my tummy was anything but settled that night too, or that a dentist checkup and playing with friends filled our calendar the next morning. It didn’t matter. That night YOU mattered, and I wasn’t going anywhere.
We sat in the waiting room for what felt like hours, You cuddled into my lap, holding my neck and never letting go. The fever just hung on, and your limp body had taken enough of the heat. You didn’t know I was hanging on to you too, never wanting to let go. I needed you, your warm body, your gentle hug.
My son, this is motherhood. When your heart belongs no longer to you…but to little boys that carry it everywhere they go. At 2am my heart is still yours, my eyes locked on your tiny frame shaking with another cough. It’s yours as I change your sheets when I feel like I can barely move, it’s yours in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Always yours. Because motherhood doesn’t stop when the sunny days are over. It doesn’t end when you clock out. It’s the late nights, the early mornings. The four loads of unexpected sick night laundry, the rescheduled day with friends to go to the doctor. And it’s love through it all.
Dear moms. This job is not always pretty. It isn’t always fun, it isn’t always relaxing. But could you imagine it any other way? Could you fathom not giving your heart to these little ones that need us so much? This job, this chance, it’s messy. It’s stinky, it’s busy, it’s gross. It’s anything but glamorous. And it is truly amazing to have your heart taken so far beyond yourself that none of that matters.
I hope your family is making it through this winter in good health. If not, hang in there, Moms! You are amazing. Soon the sun will shine and the ice will melt, the colds will go away. And that love will be all the sweeter, when we hear laughter instead of wheezes!