This weekend was exactly what I predicted – magical. But it almost didn’t happen.
Last week Eliza got what I thought were bug bites right along her diaper line. They continued to get more red and actually enlarge, such that on Thursday, I started drenching them in Neosporin. On Friday, the ointment didn’t seem to be doing much to help. Also on Friday, I decided not to budge when Eliza didn’t want to eat what was in front of her. So, when she didn’t finish her eggs for breakfast, I offered them – and only them – to her for her snack and lunch as well. She refused to eat. I told Greg we must not give in to her strong-arming antics.
On the way to the airport, and I mean, FIVE MINUTES from being dropped off for my weekend getaway, Eliza made a bit of a choking noise from the backseat, so I looked to see what was going on. She had puked spinach and cheese omelet combined with milk all over herself and had tried to breathe in during the process. It just kept coming. When she was finished she whimpered, “Towel? Towel?” I grabbed napkins from the glovebox and tried to reassure her as she wiped herself off a bit. And thus began the downward mental spiral. “She has a stomach virus. That’s why she hasn’t wanted to eat all day. I’m a bad mother for forcing her to try to eat her eggs. She must have been nauseated all day and I am the jerk who kept trying to make her eat. How can I leave her at a time like this?” We pulled up to the curb and Greg cleaned up the mess while I tried not to freak out, especially about missing my flight or leaving them in their predicament. I knew Greg would have to come home and wash her car seat straps and cover. Eliza felt hot. She was going to have to ride home in a diaper. And I just said, “Greg, can I go now?” in an annoyed voice. I was afraid he would say, “You’re really going to leave like this?” But instead, he just had me put Eliza in the car so she’d be safe and off I went with Zach, beginning to feel nauseated myself.
I spent the entire flight thinking I was coming down with whatever stomach virus Eliza had, making sure I had a barf bag at the ready. I imagined Eliza yakking all over herself on the car ride home, and Greg trying to take care of her, and her crying out for me, the mom who had deserted her in her time of need. How could this happen exactly when I was supposed to get a weekend off? I sent Greg a text when I landed, and I didn’t receive a response. I immediately assumed he was dealing with a hysterical child who was severely ill and could not be consoled.
We finally talked later on, and he told me Eliza hadn’t gotten sick again and was sleeping well. He said her butt, though, looked awful and he was guessing it was a staph infection that was spreading rapidly. My mind jumped to the worst. I have a friend whose son has had a handful off staph infections in the past few months, and he has had multiple surgeries on them. It has not been pleasant, to say the least. In this moment, instead of being rational, I immediately got more concerned again, thinking she would need to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night and have emergency staph infection removal surgery. Greg actually got annoyed that I was being so meddlesome because he was in control and was going to take her to the pediatrician in the morning. I continued to wonder how I could be such a horrible mother, leaving them both at such a time.
Missy offered to drive me home, but I knew that was irrational. I kept praying for God to protect Eliza and take care of her. The next day, after getting seven straight hours of uninterrupted sleep, dropping Zach off to be babysat by a friend’s mom, and receiving a call from Greg confirming Eliza had impetigo but was being treated and in good spirits, I began my magical day. I was finally, FINALLY, able to relax.
Why is it so easy as a mother to feel so guilty about leaving your children when you know you need the break? Why did I immediately assume the worst when Eliza threw up? Why does it seem so wrong to expect anyone other than myself to clean up barf, deal with sick kids who can’t sleep, or make doctor visits? Why does it turn my insides out to imagine my sick child calling for me but for someone else to answer that call?
I needed that trip to remind me how to “let go and let God.” I must remember, always, that taking a break doesn’t make me a bad mother and I can’t allow the guilt to creep in for needing “me-time.” I can’t say nor believe bad things about myself because I am not perfect. Because I have to tell you, this weekend was really awesome. And Eliza’s impetigo is healing (praise God). And this, too, shall pass.