By Heather O.
Last night, my daughter woke up at 2 am. She squirmed, cried, wriggled, sighed, talked, whimpered, and otherwise drove us all batty until 5am, when she finally dropped off to sleep. At about 5:05, my son woke up screaming about his ear, which he yelled was killing him.
2 hours later, my son was still in pain, only his wails were so loud that he woke my daughter, who then matched him in volume. I lay in my bed, listening to my beloved offspring’s cacophony, feeling like I’d been beaten with a 2 by 4, and thought, “I can not do this another minute.”
DH took Little Sister to the drug store to get some Tylenol while I laid next to my son, stroking his hair while he softly wept. Somehow, after a lot of tears, some drugs, some more tears, some harsh words and some swearing under my breath, we were all ready for church a few hours later, ready to attend my nephew’s baby blessing.
We went to the wrong church.
After some more harsh words, more swearing under my breath, and some fast nagivational moves on DH’s part, we made it, and slipped in, stressed and overtired, right as the last lines of the opening hymn were being sung. We stood in the aisle as the opening prayer was said, then made our way to the last row of the overflow, and there was a loud scrape on the floor as we settled our little family on the cold hard metal chairs.
Little Sister began to wail.
DH bounced her for a bit, then passed her off to me as he made his way to the front of the pulpit to assist in the ordinance of blessing our nephew. J started to whimper about his ear, and tried to crawl into my lap while I held the still fussing baby. I strained to hear my brother-in-law’s voice as he presented his baby to the Lord, giving him a name and a blessing. I tried to open my heart to the spirit that I knew must be flowing freely through the circle of worthy Melchezidek priesthood holders as they held that precious child, but was distracted by J twisting a lock of my hair. DH made the long walk back to our row, and took Little Sister from me to remove her from the meeting, as she was in a full scale squawk. J took the opportunity of my empty lap to place his head there, and stretched his legs out on the chairs next to us, still whimpering. I closed my eyes.
The speaker began. I kept my eyes closed, trying to hear him, trying to access something, anything, that would fill me. There was nothing. I said a prayer, trying to open up to get the Spirit that surely others were feeling. J began to drum his feet against my leg, then tap his head in the same rhythm against my lap. I felt my body absorb each pulse. Drum, drum, drum. Tap, tap, tap.
Eyes still closed, I began to cry.
This was not the joyous cry of a woman who feels the Spirit. It was the cry of a mother who felt she had nothing left, but still had to absorb her children’s pulse. It was the cry of a woman who needed a spiritual lift, but instead held the weight of her children on her lap.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was DH. Little Sister had filled her diaper.
“Let’s just go,” I said.
We left. Little Sister fell asleep about 30 seconds after we got in the car, so we just drove to an Insta-care so a Doc-in-the-box could tell us that J had a raging ear infection. An hour later, armed with a prescription to combat the infection and hopefully to make his life on the plane tomorrow less painful, we all collapsed.
Later that night, at the last big family gathering of our trip, I described the day to my cousin, a woman raised 5 children, and has 2 grandchildren. I teared up again as I asked her, “Will I ever feel the Spirit again? I mean, is it impossible that young mothers can ever feel anything again? I feel like I’ve got nothing, like I’m empty.”
She was thoughtful, and said, “The Lord knows your sacrifice. He knows how hard it is. It’ll be okay.”
And so, from the thoughts of another mother, I am lifted, just enough. Just enough to remember why I do this, just enough to remember that I chose this, just enough to remember that my children are precious gifts. Just enough to be humbled and to bring me to my knees in prayers of gratitude instead of frustration. Just enough.
I’ll take it.
I’m getting on a plane tomorrow with these sick and tired kids. Wish me luck.
WordPress database error: [Can't open file: 'wp_comments.MYI' (errno: 144)]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '1628' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date