It is winter time again. The ground is lightly covered with snow and ice traps my windows shut. It is beautiful but the first wave of winter sickness has entered our household.
I was the first to get sick, but I continued on with the many daily tasks; as well as organizing and cleaning after the holidays.
Today was the first day since Christmas where we had some intentional and structured homeschooling. The apartment was cleaner and more organized, and I had high hopes of folding my laundry and getting outside.
Those hopes were dashed when my adorable 4year old daughter Liora came walking into the kitchen looking a bit pale. She told me her tummy hurt, and before I could say a word she threw up all over the floor.
“Oh hunny! I’ll be right there. Your okay, your okay.”
I put my 2 month old son quickly down into his bouncy seat. He immediately started crying (my fussy boy).
I grabbed towels and wipes and new clothes for poor Liora, and helped her get cleaned up.
Baby screaming. “I know I know baby! I will be right there!”
Ok, Liora is cleaned up. I sit her on the couch with a light blanket.
Baby is still screaming.
I jog unto the kitchen to wash my hands and get poor crying baby boy but Zipporah my 2 year old wants me.
I can’t pick her up until I wash my hands, and the baby really needs me but none of that matters to a 2 year old who wants mommy NOW.
I drag myself over to the sink with Zipporah who is holding onto my leg wailing “UPPY! UPPY!”
I wash my hands, pick her up and give her a hug. “Mommy loves you Zipporah. I had to wash my hands so I don’t give you germs. I’m sorry. Your sister is sick.”
After I give her some quick cuddles, I turn to my poor screaming baby and pick him up finally. I kiss his sweet face and nurse him. He settles in happily, finally getting what he needed.
Now I go to sit back at the table and realize that my tea and soup are luke warm. Sigh.
I give up on the soup which was already reheated twice that day and I bring my untouched tea to Liora because she needs to replenish her fluids.
My oldest daughter Noemi wants to play a game with me, she wants to take out her microscope and do some science with me. She wants me, her mother, to just sit and be with her.
When one child is sick, it can be so difficult to meet the needs of the other small children (and babies) who need you!
I was very close to my grandmother Rose, and talked to me right before her death about how she adored my babies and she thought I was a wonderful mom; but she warned me that it would be so hard to meet all their needs if I had more.
She wasn’t negative towards me having more, but she knew something I didn’t know yet. She told me that “you will miss some things” even when you don’t mean to. My grandmother raised 6 children, and so she knew this struggle.
She was right.
It is hard to strech yourself out enough to be present for each child, each day. The truth is that we have to go by who needs us the most at what time. I try to be fair, but I know I won’t always get it right.
That is why I am doing my best to forge a relationship based on strong communication with each of my children. It starts with babyhood, when I am in tune and receptive to their needs. And it changes as they age.
My 5 year old Noemi took me aside this evening and said to me “mommy, you were with Liora today…no time for me”
I felt sad that she didn’t feel like I was with her today, but I was so thankful that she was able to tell me! She trusts me to enough to tell me. She trusts me enough to know I will do something about it.
Fernando has off of work tomorrow, so Noemi and I will do something together just the two of us. Daddy will stay home with poor sick Liora, and watch the youngest two. Noemi and mommy will do something special together.
I will come home and I will have 3 more little ones with BIG needs. I will do my best to be there for each of them.
Mothering means that my laundry didn’t get folded today, and I didn’t shower until the afternoon.
Mothering means focusing on the little people in my life over things.
Mothering means being needed, a lot; and seeking to meet those needs while recharging for myself too.
Whew. Time for sleep.
(Until my 4 year old wakes up and gets sick on her bed)