It’s amazing how far you can get behind when someone at your house is sick… The idea of taking a small sick child to the store is unappealing for a lot of reasons, the trip to the library to return the overdue movies—uninviting… the laundry and kitchen get done but not as readily because of the little tiny whiny voices that travel to your eardrums every few moments during the day.
Working out is, well, not the plan, and any ideas to do that project that would get you ahead—doesn’t happen. And you feel lucky to be with your child while they fight the latest round of ickies. I truly don’t mind sick time, and I’ll say it a million more times. I feel some sense of wholeness when I know the answer to a problem is simply a teaspoon of Tylenol and a huge drink of water. I wreath myself in giddy joy when my boys ask me again to sit with them while they sit in germs, coughs, sneezes and big sad eyes. I squeeze them tightly and wrap my tiny body around them, knowing that only days away—and a few degrees– is the yelling and running and pissed-off mommy we have come to understand is only human too. So so many thing go by the wayside. So a week and half after my youngest angel got sick, I was ready for the new week. It’s Monday, my to-do list has like 25 bullet points, and that’s only the ones I am not in denial about like—washing the outside windows…. That is NEVER going on the list because it will just depress me. I know I’m not going to do it until my husband suggests I hire someone again. And I’ll whip out my cheap ass and crank those babies out in a heartbeat… or more than one heartbeat. But I’m just being honest…
So it’s Monday morning, my to-do list is written, and my older son has a fever. I breathe a huge sigh as I go through my happy list of things I love about sick little boys… And then I look at my list again. I’ll never catch up if they trade off sicknesses!!! Holy crap! I’m gonna have a nervous freaking breakdown if I don’t get these damn things off my plate! I’m gonna start screaming at the box top volunteer lady at my son’s elementary school and go postal on her—for no real reason—except that box tops are ridiculous, and I still hold in my 45 cents on that subject. But it’s not her fault, and I need to focus on the real issues… So I set my oldest up with the usual accoutrements, such as water, a bell (yah right), and a nice movie. I put in Tangled, which is a new Disney classic we bought this week since it was on sale at Wal-Mart and we had a birthday party based on the events of Tangled. I considered it research. Soooo more research for my 7 year old, and off I go to the office to crank out the 75 emails in my inbox, the appointments to cancel for tomorrow, and my stupid list of stupid chores!
And hours later a dull thud — my beautiful blue eyed boy walks into the office to ask me, “Mom, do you want to dance?”. Now the noise in the room quieted to a whiper I couldn’t hear. I felt the earth stop on its axis… and a remix of that Leann Womax or whatever her lovely name is country singer start to waft through my tizzied brain. She sings this song to her children, and the chorus squeezes tears from my eyes every time it bellows softly and magically, “I hope you never lose your sense of wonder… if ever one door closes, I hope you find a window… “ Okay, awful paraphrase… But seriously beautiful. “If you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you (light refrain) DANCE!” I have it on my workout mix on the ole ipod, and if I danced ballet, I would listen to it a lot more. But I knew this was one of those moments that was going to be defining in that small way that you know it made a difference—and it might not shift the universe or change the starvation of small children in third world countries, but it might be one of the happiest memories of your life when you’re 80 years old. It will probably race through your head when your child graduates, and it might just be a retrievable memory when your child is pulling the, “I suck, and don’t you wish I was your step child as this moment” routine. I heard angels singing, and I even knew how to answer my son later in the day when he asked me if I loved being a mom because he and his brother were being good. I said, “No, sweetie. I’m not a mommy because you’re always good. I’m a mom because I hope that being with you and your brother will be more wonderful than anything bad that ever happens.” And in my mind I replayed the sweet junior high shuffle and silly twirling I did with my son that morning… with the phone thrown on the couch, my office unoccupied for a few minutes, and my “storehouse of memories and beautiful moments you’ll never get back” registered one more. It was something I won’t ever forget. So the next time you see the movie Tangled, I hope you think about dancing. Because it might be the most beautiful song in the world, even if I don’t remember what it was. I just see glassy blue eyes and the pressure of a little boy laying his fevered brow on my stomach while we dance in the family room. I hear music in the background, and I feel this immeasurable sense of wonder myself. This is what “love” is. This is what unadulterated, unconditional love is like. And I can’t be more grateful for the ickies, the chores and the belief that in the world are things some will never experience and never know they missed. But me, today, I am blissfully complete, blissfully whole, completely complete—and I have missed nothing in my lifetime because I danced with the most beautiful little boy today. This is why I’m a mom.