There is one question that people ask you as the parent of small children that I absolutely hate. I’m sure people are well meaning when they say “don’t you just love every minute of it?” If I’m being totally, completely honest – I don’t. In fact, there are quite a few minutes that I downright hate.
The last couple of weeks have been trying for our family. First, our newborn, Leona, had a fever and a stiff neck, so we took her in to our doctor. They sent us straight away to the Children’s ER in Spokane. There, our poor baby girl underwent nasal swabs, blood draws, and even a spinal tap so that they could test for a multitude of diseases. After the ER, they kept us at the hospital for two additional days while they ran tests and kept Leona under observation. It turned out to be just a common cold, but because she was just a month old they had to be extra cautious. I’m grateful for all of the care and support of the nurses and doctors (they were amazing), but being in the hospital still sucked.
The next weekend, we traveled to western Washington for the funeral of a dear family friend. We were sad and mourning and probably overtired after traveling with two littles, and so both my husband and I got sick. It was miserable.
After a couple of rough weekends I was really looking forward to Easter- going to church together, taking Kateri on her first Easter Egg hunt, you get the picture. But the morning of Easter she woke up with a 104 degree fever and the shakes. Since Urgent Care was closed, we ended up back at the ER (this time in Idaho). She had a few tests (a urine test, a chest X-ray to rule out pneumonia, and more) and was sent home with a diagnosis of a virus. We were told to keep her comfortable with Tylenol and fluids.
The next day, someone took exception to our two cuties and asked “Don’t you just love every minute of it?”. I responded by saying “they are pretty great”, but inside I just wanted to cry. I was exhausted and stretched to the limit. I had spent the last few weeks taking care of my family, and seeing my babies sick and miserable. I couldn’t shake the vision of Leona with an IV in her tiny arm, and Kateri’s screams during the hospital tests still echoed in my ears. The honest truth was, I wasn’t loving much of being a mom lately. In fact I was hating the majority of it.
There is a post from one of my favorite blogs, Momastery, called “Don’t Carpe Diem“. The author introduces her idea of “carpe kairos”, which means to cherish those few magical moments that happen during the day, instead of trying to love every minute of every day. In the times that I am feeling really challenged and overwhelmed, I try to think of those “carpe kairos” moments. So here goes:
I didn’t love having my poor little baby in the hospital, but I loved seeing my husband comfort her while we were there. I loved seeing him hold and rock her, and I loved having his hand to hold as I tried to hold back tears.
I didn’t love saying goodbye to our friend Wally, but I loved when I showed Kateri a picture of the man I called “Papa” and having her repeat “Papa” as she pointed to the picture and smiled.
I didn’t love seeing Kateri in the hospital, but I loved watching her watch YouTube videos of moose (her newest obsession) with wide eyes as we waited for test results.
And this. I love this smile. I don’t love every minute of being a mom. But I LOVE this moment.