There were disturbances from a crying baby, an eight year old crawling into bed next to me, lights left on (presumably by little ones who had woken to use the bathroom?) but, most notably, there was Jesse -- my poor little four-year-old asthmatic -- who had woken with one of his characteristic coughing fits and come to find me.
20 minutes of inhaling-Albuterol-through-his-nebulizer later, I bundled him up in his penguin blanket (“Pingu blanky”), slung sock-monkey next to him, and carried him back to bed. As I bent down to stick him on the lower bunk, I whispered, “I’m glad you came and got me when you were having a hard time breathing.”
“Yah,” he said sleepily, closing his eyes and snuggling out of my arms and into the mattress, “It was my great plan when I knew I was sick.”
As I gently pulled my hands free of him and tiptoed from the room, I nearly laughed . . . and then, instead, put my hand to my chest as I choked out a little sob.
That was it? That was his great plan? “Go find Mom”?
The absurdness as well as the responsibility of those words settled onto me as I headed back to my own bed. How much can I actually solve? How much can I fix? Not much, really. Thank the Lord for Albuterol. But for most problems that arise in my little ones’ lives at this stage, “Go find Mom” probably is the depth and breadth of their solution. It is a humbling large weight, particularly, knowing as I do, how much exists that I won’t be able to fix with a dose of medicine and a tuck back in bed. But, somehow, it still feels like a tremendous privilege to be the “great plan”, the single solution, for the troubles that come to them, and, I find myself almost tearfully wishing that that could be enough. That for the rest of their lives, when any difficulty or trial came their way, they could simply think, “I better go find Mom.” And, in turn, I would be able to make it all come right again.
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Nancy Harris descended from a long line of theater and English professors. While she was surprised to find her own passion lying more in the sciences, she still tries to embrace her "art" genes through writing about and photographing her life with six small kids. Read more at A Chicken in the Window Well.