Tonight I sent Stephanie off to an evening for herself after dinner. She needed the break – so I cleaned up from dinner, played with the kids for a while, got their teeth brushed, changed them into night clothes and put them to bed without their mommy being home. I believe she went to a craft or scrapbooking class. After I had put both kids to bed, I found myself in a quiet home with a mountain of school work, website work, and day job work all piling up, so I started in.
That’s when I heard it – the low humming whine of a sick child. It was Zander. The whole family has been sick lately – both kids were coughing and hacking tonight after dinner. As I sat there deciding if I should go up to check on Zander or leave it be and let him fall asleep, I remembered a moment that occurred years before my mother had passed away, one I hadn’t thought of in years. We used to live in a small house in Charlotte NC. Jeremy and I shared a room and I think Mom and my sisters shared a room. I was most likely 3 or 4 years old. One night while in that tiny house – I found myself laying on the top bunk of our bunk beds feeling really bad from who knows what illness – and I was whining. Not crying – not trying to get anyone’s attention – just low hum whining because I was very uncomfortable.
I thought I was being quite enough that no one could even hear me. I didn’t want to get in trouble for staying up after we were put to bed anyway. My mommy heard me. I’ll never forget the light flooding the room as she came in, and how she stroked back my hair (which was likely wet from breaking a fever) and asked – not in the harsh angry tone I might have expected for staying up after I was put to bed – but in a soft loving tone, “Are you OK, baby?” I felt her love wrapping around me like a big bear hug and all of the sudden I didn’t feel near as badly as before she came in the room. She prayed for me, closed the door behind her as she left, and turned out the hallway light so that even the little bit of light that was leaking out from under the door was put out. I fell asleep.
I remember trying to recreate the moment the following night after I was put to bed by humming and whining – but a mother knows the difference between a child in real need and a child seeking attention – she never came in the room that night despite my best efforts – I even found myself getting much louder than the preceding night. My mother was wise to not come in or it might have turned into a nightly routine. And I believe with all my heart that if she had come in that second night – I would have long ago forgotten the experience from that first night. Forever lost would have been the memory of the warmth in her tone, the touch of her hand brushing away my hair, and the Love in her heart pushing away my fears. I knew everything was going to be OK.
Thank you Mom for knowing when to step in and when to stay back. I miss you dearly – until I see you there, your memories will stay with me here.