Sometimes when I am writing I get a little sidetracked and miss the point of my story, so today I am going to do a Paul Harvey imitation and tell the rest of the story.
With Grace sick, I've realized I have felt a great deal of stress. Of course I was worried because she did not feel well but I also realized that it felt like more than that.
I am a horrible caretaker. I recognize this weakness and have told my parents that if they ever need a caretaker, I hope I will be able to afford to pay someone to do it. But when my kids get sick, I try to overcome this. But I already knew this about myself and did not think that was really it either.
Sunday I jokingly told Annabel that I was afraid that the teachers at the Chinese school would think I wasn't a good Chinese mother because I let them get sick.
BAM! That's when I realized the source of the stress - I feel like I have failed my kids when they get sick! AND that I might be perceived as a bad mother.
Yes, I can be rational and know that none of this is true, but I can't help but think, "what could I have done to help avoid Grace getting the flu?". Sure, she went out without a coat one day that it was cold, went to bed with wet hair, did not eat her fruit, none of which caused her to get the flu, I know, but was there something else, something I missed? They had their flu shots and I was trying to be diligent, yet I failed because the end result was she got sick.
AND if that's not enough, I have really stressed because I felt like some were raising an eyebrow in suspicion of my mothering skills when I told them that she was sick. I was quick to point out that we had gotten the flu shot in December as my defense! I was prepared! Or at least I tried to be. I want to ask them, "What else could I have done? Was it not enough garlic? Should I have insisted on more water? Do YOU hold the key to detering this illness?". OK, I haven't done that, but I have wondered and they probably aren't thinking anything other than, yuck, the flu.
This brings me to another thought. There has been a story in the news lately about a horrible situation in which a young boy ran ahead of his mother and was hit by a car and killed. I cannot imagine the pain that mother is going through, how many times she has replayed the event, stopping at each frame to see how she could have prevented it, yet each time she has to play it through to the same ending, no matter how much she wished it could change.
Being a mom is hard. I don't think there is another job that requires as much due diligence 24/7, because there is always the risk of that one second where things can go terribly wrong.
I know I have it much easier as a mom than most. My girls are extremely self-sufficient. I don't have toddlers who rely on me for all their daily needs. My girls have good judgement, usually, so I don't have to second guess each of their decisions. I can go on and on as to why my job is easier, but when they get sick, maybe we are all more similar than different, regardless of their age and ability. Sometimes it is hard to be the mom.
It's not about sandwiches! It's about my life!