Being a parent is really hard. Who's with me?
Today was a tough day. My 8 year old daughter crawled into bed next to me at about 12:45am, complaining of a tummy ache. This was about an hour after I had finally decided it was time for me to sleep. She slept peacefully next to me for about 15 minutes, and then the barfing began. Six times in the next five hours, she made the dash to the bathroom with a garbled and desperate "Come with me mom!" It was not a restful night of sleep for her, or for us. By the fourth time, I was so groggy I nearly fell backwards into the bathtub.
Another kid succumbed today as well, plus one husband, so we had a regular sick ward around here. I went through ungodly amounts of Lysol and hanitzer.
When people are sick, I get positively turbo about cleanliness. I'm not normally a neat freak, but stick a barfer on my couch, and I turn to the Simple Green, the broom, and the garbage can like I'm a cracked-up, Type A, OCD poster child. I have just stopped moving, after constant dashing to and fro since getting up 15 hours ago. Seven loads (and counting) of laundry have been completely processed and put away. Dishes leapt out of the sink and into the clean drainer with alacrity. Blankets were folded up as soon as any warm body left them behind. Shoes were not allowed to linger with nary a foot in sight for more than 5 minutes. Empty glasses of ginger ale were swept away before healthy hands could even think about handling them.
I'm so glad we don't get sick that often: this level of efficiency would surely kill me.
I think it's a fear of succumbing myself that keeps me hyped up. If I can just keep moving, maybe I can outrun the germs. So today was physically hard.
But I'll be honest here. The hard part of parenting on my mind tonight is the emotional part, the constant worrying about what they will become. I worry about their work ethic. I worry whether they will be compassionate to those less fortunate. I worry that they will be Republicans. I worry that they will be afraid to try new things. I worry that they will embarrass me in public. I worry that they are growing up feeling entitled. I worry that I yell too much. I worry that I am not patient enough, that I don't give them enough time to learn life's lessons before expecting them to "act right." I worry about their priorities. I worry about their hair. I worry that they will be Republicans. Wait: I already said that. Well, it's a big worry. I worry that my worrying is bad for them. I worry that they will grow up to be like me.
And I'm the lesser of the two worriers guiding this ship. (love you, honey!)
The antidote to worry? Faith. Detachment. Trust. And more of that damned patience.
At least my house is clean while I sit here with all this worry and pray for detachment.
* * *