Today’s post is an homage to my mother, and how wonderful she is. Yes, I know, I don’t say that much and it probably comes as a surprise to hear it at all. But she is, truly wonderful, very loving, and everything a mother should be — she really is. The fact that she and I are very, very different people causes us no end of problems for us, but it doesn’t change the fact that she is a wonderful mother.
The four of us — M, me, and the girls — have spent the last four days with a violent stomach bug and it’s been a thoroughly miserable experience (if you don’t like graphic details, stop here and jump to the next paragraph). No one has been able to keep anything down — even a mere sip of water would be vomited straight back up. At least M and I know to make a run for the toilet, but the girls don’t. They just spewed their guts where-ever they stood, and I have quickly learned to keep sick toddlers corralled in the areas of the house with hardwood floors instead of carpet! Oh, and what didn’t come out the top end came flying out the bottom end with no warning. Again, M and I know what to do, but the girls had no idea what was coming. I have done 10 loads of laundry in three days: all the sheets twice, all the bedclothes, all the towels, the bathmat (someone nearly got to the toilet, but not quite…), and change after change after change of clothes. And the whole time, all I’ve wanted to do was curl up and die.
Within minutes of her first bout of violent vomiting on Monday morning, E1 looked up at me, with a miserable face and said, “I want Grandmaaaaaa…..” I gave her the phone and, when her grandma answered, she said, “I’m sick! Will you come please?” No magic spell could have worked faster — my mother was here in 30 minutes and spent the day cuddling and rocking her increasingly listless grand-daughters.
When it hit me with full force that evening, and I realised what I was in for, I gave my mother a ring and asked her if she could come in the morning. She rearranged her schedule so she could be here for 9am. At 8.30, I was cleaning dried vomit out of E2’s hair and dried diarrhea out of her bum (and both off her bedclothes, her sheets, her crib, the floor, and the walls) and praying for 9:00 to roll on. It did, Grandma took over, and I dragged myself back to bed, where I clutched my sick bowl and shook under the covers. She stayed all day and then, at my request, stayed into the evening to put the girls to bed, while I slept and was sick and slept and was sick.
She came again at 9am on Wednesday. Everyone had stopped vomiting at last — though no one was back to being themselves again by any stretch — but I am so dehydrated and exhausted that my vision kept going black. She took care of the girls while I rested, and then had my first wash in 48 hours — discovering bits of old vomit still in my hair and under my fingernails — and then went down and collapsed in the rocking chair. I told her again how grateful I was for her help. I had told her yesterday, but I wanted her to really know. It is this kind of help, more than anything else — more than shopping, more than dinners out, more than babysitting — that I really missed when I was so far away in England. It was times like these when I would really wish I lived near my mother and, now that I do, I wanted her to know how very, very grateful I am for her help. She hadn’t thought for a moment about the fact that she is now likely to come down with this too — she’d just come over straight over to help. She is a wonderful mother.
And when she left, I told her to rest the next morning — I was on the mend and I wouldn’t need her, I was sure. I woke up still nauseaus, but feeling confident that I could handle it myself today. But as I laid the baby down on the bed for that first feed, a jolt of electricity shot from my hip and ran up my spine and down my leg, and I screamed out in pain. I’d caught my sciatic nerve and it hurt like hell. I hadn’t actually pinched it — thank Heavens — but, oh, how it was excruciating! And, then to top it off, that pain brought on an instant and pounding headache.
I let E2 feed whilst I contorted and then, when she was done, I hobbled down the stairs — slowly… slowly… — and rang my mother. Please, Mum. She didn’t hesitate. She arrived 15 minutes later and I dragged my nauseous, aching body and thudding head back to bed.
My mother and I are very very different people, and that causes us no end of problems. We have spent years misunderstanding each other, driving each other crazy, and struggling to keep our relationship on an even keel. But she is a wonderful mother, and I love her, and I am very blessed indeed to have her.