….H and me alone in his room, just listening to music quietly together. Him tapping time along with a Wilco song on the side of his hospital bed… Me remembering taking him to see Wilco at The Tennessee Theater a few years back…
I woke up in the extra hospital bed in H’s room this morning to a very friendly nurse standing over me and whispering, “Happy Mother’s Day! I’ll bet you feel extra lucky this year.”
Not only was it sweet of her to wish me a Happy Mom Day, she’s obviously right that this year, the day has extra special meaning for me (although to be honest with you, I totally forgot it was Mother’s Day today until last night when I was reminded by the sweet card and tasty chocolates that H’s father and stepmother left in the room for me when we traded hospital shifts for the night).
H is still sound asleep this morning – they have started him on a medication to help sleep and increase his nonexistent appetite (he’s lost 23 lbs in less than 2 weeks) – and I am just sitting here next to his bed this morning, watching him snooze and wondering what he’s dreaming about. As more specific – and horrific – details of the trauma he endured slowly emerge, I fear that his dreams are haunted with terrible things and people. As I sit next to him, which is mostly all I want to do these days, I think back over the past 18 years of Mother’s Days he and I have shared together. I remember the handmade cards from kindergarten and first grade,and the misshapen ceramic turtle he proudly brought home to me as a gift for Mother’s Day the year he was in second grade. For sixth grade, he wrote me a wonnderful poem. And then I remember Mother’s Day 2009, just last year, when he had just left home for what turned out to be nearly a year of inpatient addiction treatment. I missed him terribly, but was SO hopeful that he would be “fixed” when he returned, and that our family could get back to normal – whatever the hell that means.
I also keep looking down at my giant belly this morning and trying to wrap my head around the fact that in just about 8 weeks, we will have a new child joining our family. Ever since H was taken to the hospital, I have just basically forgotten that I am pregnant, except when I’m reminded by one of the nurses asking me when I am due. I feel the baby kicking and wiggling around in there each day, but I am so very focused on baby #1’s recovery at the moment that baby #5 seems like a made-up something. Totally unreal. But she is real, and I know that soon we have to do at least a few things to prepare for her arrival – my last two babies came 3 and 4 weeks early, respectively. But I have no idea how or when Jon and I will find the time to haul boxes up from the basement and at least wash a few sleepers and receiving blankets so she will have something to wear, or how we’ll ever get time to find the packed-up baby swing, bassinet or infant carseat. We also haven’t had any chance to start emptying, cleaning and painting the completely unrenovated junk room that is theoretically supposed to become a bedroom/nursery for C and newbaby to share. The idea was to get a big girl bed set up in there so we could start the process of transitioning C out of our bed and into the big girl bed before her new baby sister makes an arrival – so that newbaby can move into our bed, where C has slept every night for the past 2.5 years. Now I am wondering if we will instead need to ready that room for H when he is released from rehab, since his old room is on the second floor of our house, and he may need to have access to everything on the first floor for some period of time during his post-rehab recovery phase. I guess we’ll just figure this all out as we go. (Just keep swimming…swimmming…swimming…)
I feel like I have totally ignored poor E and J since H was hospitalized. E has spent the last three days staying with his cousins at Aunt Betsy’s, which is definitely a second home to him, but I can tell he’s also anxious and homesick. J has been very independent for the past two weeks, keeping herself organized and getting to school each morning via the kindness of friends and neighbors who have taken over my morning school driving routine. I love driving her to school each morning. It’s a great 30 minute catch-up for us each day, and I have missed it a lot in recent weeks. I think she has too. But thank God for her good friends (and their amazingly wonderful parents) who have acted as “extra mothers” during all of this, having her over to spend the night, helping her with homework and giving her the extra hugs she’s missed while her parents and step parents have been spending moment at the hospital.
All the help I am getting right now with feeding, transporting, organizing, and generally loving on my children makes me realize that we are really a village of “mothers” – all of us. Women and men, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, neighbors, friends, coworkers, teachers …. All of these people and more have really stepped in to help me mother my own children in the past few weeks. Some of you have “mothered” me with your kind messages, blog comments and emails, while others have helped by guiding us in navigating the criminal justice system to try to make sure arrests are made in what was done to my child (thus also assisting in protecting ALL the children and young people in our community). And I am just so grateful to every single one of you. Really, there are just no words to express the gratitude I feel
So this year, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, to every single person reading this who has helped someone else with caring for and nurturing children in the past 12 months. I realize more with every year that passes that while some of us actually give birth to the children in our communities, we’re really all in this mothering thing together.
Hey Knoxvillians: I need to hire a responsiible nanny-helper with a car & good driving record to help me get various offspring to afterschool activities and events. Need someone to start ASAP. Other hours possible sometimes, but primarily a 3pm-6:30 pm weekday gig. Great parttime job for college student. Will rigorously check references and will do background check.
Please send interested folks my way via Facebook email or my regular email: firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!
Today I shall adopt the Bob the Builder motivational ethic as I attempt to juggle the tasks of mothering the two-out-of-four children currently at home, whilst simultaneously completing Monday-deadline essay (on cultural Jon & Kate shadenfreude) for a magazine, as well as completing two projects for work.
All together now!: “Can She Do It?!! YES SHE CAN!”