Growing up in my house, whenever we were sick my mom would pull out all the stops for our recovery. Sprite, gummy bears, lots of quilts piled up on the couch, and a watchful and reassuring presence that she was there with whatever we needed. Of course it was never fun to be sick, but I can look back on those times now with fondness, remembering how my mom always provided so much care and love.
But beyond the standard cold or flu, there were a few times things were a bit scarier. The time I had pneumonia and ended up in the emergency room. Or when I had an ovarian cyst burst and got rushed into surgery. I remember feeling scared and worried, but I also remember that my mom served as a constant reassurance that I would be okay.
Now a parent myself, I look back on what most have been scary moments for my mom – she must have been worried and scared, and yet I never felt any of that from her. She told me things would be okay, and I believed her. Cullen has been dealing with his first sickness this week, and it’s had me reflecting quite a bit on my own childhood and experiences with illness. He’s only been dealing with a bad cough/cold, and still I’ve been a worried, anxious mess.
During his worst night so far, we watched him all night has he coughed and hacked through his sleep. I sat there with tears streaming down, feeling helpless and scared. Watching your child struggle to sleep and breathe is absolutely heartbreaking. I knew he wasn’t in any real danger (or you can believe I would have had him in the ER in record time), but it didn’t make it any easier to see him so miserable and sad. As I sat and listened to him breathe, I questioned my own confidence in my parenting. I want him to feel that same sense of reassurance and comfort that I had as a child. When he is older, and asks me if things are going to be okay, will he sense my fear and worry, or will he feel safe just as long as I am there?
I hope that as he continues to develop an understanding of our words and feelings, I’ll be able to dig deep and find that strong, confident mom that I know he needs me to be. Even though I might be terrified inside, I know how important it is to be able to be a comfort and source of strength for my kids. This mom stuff isn’t easy, and when the going gets tough, it makes me appreciate my own mother and realize how often she probably watched me breathe through worried eyes, even though she didn’t show it. I hope that with each passing challenge, I’ll find my own inner parenting confidence.