To call it a stomach bug would make it sound small and cute and easily squashed. It was none of those things. This was an evil nasty virus that grabbed hold of my body last week and would not let go. After eight straight hours of losing everything I'd eaten and then some, I finally collapsed into sleep.
When I woke up three hours later, weak and weary, I was thankful for two things:
1. The worst seemed to be over.
2. I had my mommy to take care of me.
There's nothing like getting sick to make you want your mommy -- and I was lucky enough to be staying with mine. During the night, my mother (and my father, to his credit) got up to check on me, bring me a clean wash-cloth, offer me water. And in the morning (and for the next two days), my parents took care of my children so I could sleep.
If I hadn't been visiting my parents when all this broke loose, there would not have been time for sleep. Instead, it would have been time to come downstairs with the kids, make breakfast, pack Juni's lunch, and get us all dressed to take Juni to preschool, then come home and find ways to entertain Pippi. Thankfully I have a wonderful husband, who would have wanted to help -- but he has his own full-time job and would have needed to get to the office.
This was my first time getting really sick since I became a mom. As I healed (very) slowly over the next few days, I kept thinking about how I would have survived if I hadn't had my parents to help me. I'm sure it would have involved lots of toddler videos and a crabby baby -- and a mama who was desperate to sleep. It wouldn't have been the end of the world, but it might have felt like it.
Meanwhile, thousands (probably millions?) of mothers all over the world are coping with illness and worse without any support system to give them a break. They struggle to keep their children safe or to meet their basic needs without the time or energy or ability to stop and take care of themselves. I hate that I can't send myself -- or my mom -- to help each of them.
So instead I'm reminding all my friends in town to call on me when they need help. Hopefully I haven't passed along my virus to anyone else, but I can at least share my time and support for another mom in need. It's a small thank-you to my own mom and reminder of how lucky I am.