In Sickness I'm Much More Appreciative Of My Partner

For the From Left to Write Book Club we read Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor, which inspired this post.

We've had a sick house for the last couple of weeks. Two Sunday trips to the doctor's office in a row finally determined that W had strep and B had a double ear infection. B has been the sickest child I have ever had to care for. His temperature sat between 102 and 105 for three days. He has projectile vomited on me more times than I care to remember. He has had diarrhea (I know this is totally gross, but so is motherhood) beyond what I thought possible. He's refusing food, thickly congested, coughing, cranky, and in pain.

I'm just finishing Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor, sharing the loss of her very young husband before the birth of their first child and her early days of parenting  on her own. Now I'm sick. I'm home bound today, stuck in bed trying to beat whatever it is I caught from my little germ factories. And I wonder how I would have navigated the last week on my own.

At first I planned to write about how unfair wakes are for the family who lost someone, reflecting on my uncle's tragic death only a year ago, and watching my aunt and cousins stand for hours receiving and comforting strangers. But, then, as is often the case, being a parent threw a wrench into those plans. We all got sick and I became aware of how much of a difference it made to have a partner through all of it.

The other night B was laying in bed next to me. I had just given him a bottle and was starting to doze off... And woke as he projectile vomited all over me and the bed. Matt sprung up and grabbed him, took him to the nursery and started to undress him. I pulled off my shirt and then pulled the sheets off the bed. I changed and took B from Matt, who then found fresh sheets, remade the bed, and threw all puke-covered items in the washing machine. It was a true team effort. And we somehow did it without turning on too many lights and waking up W. I try to imagine how I would have handled that on my own. I would have figured it out, but it would have been really hard and it would have included more lights, more crying (both me and B), and an awake 3 year old.

Moments like this leave me in awe of single parents. Whether single by choice or single by tragedy or single by job circumstances that leave them alone for days or weeks or months, they navigate all of the things that I take for granted. It makes me feel like such a wimp. I don't go to the grocery store with the two boys, because why bother?!?! Matt can stay home with them and I can move much quicker on my own. When one of the kids is sick or misbehaving or driving me crazy, I have someone to tag me out. When B's fever sky-rocketed above 105 I had someone to help me make the best decisions about what to do. When W split his eye open and needed stitches, I had someone to drive me to the hospital. Simply said, parenting with a (GOOD) partner is easier.

I commend every single parent out there. They are truly amazing. I don't think a family needs two parents to be successful. Families come in many different styles. But, sitting here sick and feeling bad for myself, the last thing I can imagine having to do tonight is make dinner, bathe the kids, and get them to bed on my own. But, if that were to be my situation, I know I'd have no choice but to do everything I could to take care of my kids and ensure their happiness. Because that's what you do for your kids... Whether parenting on your own or with a partner.

During the fifth month of her pregnancy of her first child Natalie Taylor is devastated by the sudden death of her husband. Her journey with grief is chronicled in the memoir Signs of Life. Join From Left to Write on March 29 as we discuss Signs of Life by Natalie Taylor. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book. All opinions are my own.


Amy @ UsingOurWords.com said...

Yikes! I truly hope you're all feeling better, but continuing to appreciate each other, very soon. What a tough time you've all been having. So glad you have each other to get through it.

Thien-Kim aka Kim said...

Projectile vomit is the worse! I agree with you. Single parents are amazing. I know they do what they do because they have to, but still. I'd be a wuss about it! Hope everyone feels better soon.

Some Suburban Mom said...

I understand exactly what you mean here. I hope your people are feeling better and in spite of the vomit, it feels good to know that you've got each other's backs.

Jennifer Bush said...

I hear you! Just the logistics of getting my kids to school and various therapies is a 2 (sometimes 3) person job. Can't imagine doing it on your own.