I had an uncomfortable realization yesterday.
Spencer spent most of the day in the ER with a dislocated shoulder. He is home now, put back together and sleeping comfortably, but yesterday was a long miserable day for him. Mike brought him to the ER while I stayed home with the others feeling anxious and useless, unsure of what to do with myself. As I’d imagine any parent would tell you, there are few things worse than knowing your children are in pain or sick or hurt in any way. It was with great relief that I finally met him at the front door, smiling, whole (if a bit drugged up), and home where I could dote on him.
So glad to have something to do after a day of waiting, I made sure he was comfortable on the couch and that he had the remotes controls he needed. I fixed him some toast and put water on for tea. I kept him company while he watched one of his favorite shows, I brought him ibuprofen when it was time, and I even helped him with his belt buckle when he admitted with a laugh that while he managed to get it UNdone with one hand to use the restroom, he couldn’t get it done again. I was attentive, and I was patient, and I did it all gladly. It made me happy to be able to do something, anything, to help him stay as comfortable as possible.
In short, I was the kind of mom I should be striving to be all the time.
It occurred to me on my third or fourth trip out of the living room to get him something that didn’t I have it backwards? Not that we shouldn’t be so vigilant when there is an extra need, but shouldn’t that same level of patience, of compassion, and willingness to give be present when the kids are well? Especially with kids like mine who are almost never sick? And it’s not that I don’t think I’m a good mom. It’s just that crises tend to make me a BETTER mom. A more aware mom. A more patient mom. And if I can choose to bring that “extra” to my parenting when someone is sick or hurt, can’t I choose to do it all the time? It’s not even a choice now that I think about it…. it’s just the default. Someone is hurt, and out comes that “other” mom. The one who isn’t irritable because she hasn’t been sleeping enough, the one who isn’t distracted with silly things like Facebook and housework and outstanding bills, the one who has all the love in the world and all the time in the world to give it.
Yes, I’ve had it backwards, and I can change that.
I don’t really do resolutions, but if I did, my new resolution would be this: For this year… this week… this day… to make more of an effort to treat my kids – all my kids – as well as I’d treat them if they’d just spent the day in the ER.