It didn’t start off well. There’s just NOTHING fun about listening to your baby cry “owie, owie, OWWIEEE!” for nearly 4 hours in the middle of the night. Maddie woke up at 2:00 a.m., complaining that she hurt – somewhere in the general vicinity of her left ear. She cried and cried, and there wasn’t much we could do about it. “Mommy, the hurt won’t go away!” I tried heating up towels, but that only offered momentary relief. I tried giving her liquid Tylenol, but she spit that all over the bed (MY side of the bed, none-the-less). Finally, at around 6:00 a.m., after I’d managed to get her to swallow enough medicine to wear off the edges of the pain, she fell asleep, and so did I – at least for a little while.
I didn’t go to work. After Marcel had gotten Nikki and Julie off to school and had headed to school himself, I took Maddie to the walk-in clinic. I thought it would be faster than going all the way downtown to our regular doctor, but BOY was I WRONG! We waited for over 2 hours. Fortunately, I’d managed to get her to ingest some more Tylenol before visiting the doctor, so she was in reasonably good spirits. After waiting that long, it took less than 2 minutes for the doctor to examine her throat and ear, determine both were infected, and write her a prescription for penicillin.
By then, the drugs had started to wear off, and she was getting cranky again. We came back home, she took more Tylenol, and before long she was sleeping again.
Somewhere along the line, as I was tucking the blanket around her, making sure she was comfortable, I realized that, in an odd way, this was just the kind of day I needed. It’s hard to explain, but after travelling and working so hard at a new job, I really needed a Mommy day. Today I was director of nothing, communicator of nothing, globetrotter nowhere – I was just Mommy. And that suited me just fine.
Sometimes I forget that I need this. That I want it. I get caught up in being who I am away from this home. And with Marcel picking up so many of the pieces while I’m away, I forget that I’m still needed around here. Once in awhile, especially after I’ve been away for a while and they’ve had a chance to bond without me (and after three weeks it’s especially noticeable), I feel a little outside the circle. I even get a little resentful when Marcel knows things about the kids that I don’t know. I snap at him when he tells me how Maddie likes her toast – he’s not supposed to know more about her than me! There’s also a tiny bit of me that gets jealous when he gets to greet them when they step off the bus, or volunteer for hot lunches at school.
Don’t get me wrong – I love the way our life is working out these days. I love that I can have a great job and not feel guilty about shirking my parenting duties because my kids are well cared for by their daddy. I love that I can travel, and come home to a content family who survived quite well without me. I love it because these roles suit both Marcel and I quite well. I love all that, but deep down, I still want to be Mommy too.
So for today, I got to be just Mommy. I got to hold her on my lap when she cried. I caressed her cheek when it hurt. I tucked the blankets around her, and never once for a moment thought about what needed to be done at the office. Next week, I’ll go back to being “corporate me”, but for today, “mommy me” was quite happy to take the reins.