Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'd Change It If I Could

As a mother, there are things that we would like to go back and change...if only we could. There are things that we would have done differently. Things we wouldn't have made a big deal about. Things we would have done that would make us better moms.

This blog posting is to my beautiful daughter, who in spite of one such moment in time. when you were 2 1/2 years old, grew up to seem unscathed by my attempts at motherhood.

Let me say that this event has always bothered me. When I've thought about it I've wanted that moment back. Now to realize that it is your first memory of me, absolutely tears my heartstrings. I hope that it is your first memory of me because it is the first memory of yourself. I hope that in the rest of your early memories of me, I didn't let you down.

It was when you were 2 1/2 years old. You were sick. You had been sick for a few days. You were whinny and clingy and over dramatic. (That adjective is really me trying to push a minuscule amount of blame your way.) You had wanted to be up against me 24/7. Nothing I did seemed to make you feel any better. I had taken you to the doctor and it was determined that it was "a virus that needed to run it's course." Your brother was a baby. He wasn't sick, but he still wanted his turn at being held and sitting right up against me. Your dad was working midnight to eight am shifts. Sleeping during the day and gone at night. There was no relief for me. After a couple days of this I was over it! I put you both to bed and I went to bed early.

A side note to this story is that we were having trouble getting you to stay in your bed at night. The pediatrician had told us to allow you to sleep on the floor of our room when you got up, but not in our bed. It was a work in progress.

A few hours after I put you to bed, you woke me out of a dead sleep. You wanted to get into bed with me. You felt hot, but you were running a fever after all. I told you that you couldn't sleep with me, but that you could lay your sleeping bag beside my bed. We did that and we tried to go back to sleep. All of a sudden you were running around the house screaming. You were seeing Lions and elephants. You thought your brother was standing up in his crib (something he couldn't do yet, and certainly wasn't doing in the middle of the night.) I grabbed you and you were burning up. I took your temperature and it was 106. I freaked out, called your dad at work, had a neighbor watch your brother, and we took you to Kaiser. We were home a few hours later, fever in check, and the virus eventually ran it's course.

IF I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have been so tired. I wouldn't have been so OVER you draping your hot little body all over me. I wouldn't have been so worried that letting you sleep with me would move us back to square one. I would have let you sleep with me. I would have held you tight so that when you started seeing the scary things you wouldn't have been alone. I would have somehow known that someday I would give anything to have that moment back. I would have been me, now, looking back and realizing that you would be all grown up before I knew it. I would have made a much better memory of me for you. I would have been a better mommy at that moment.


Lori said...

I hope that anyone who reads your blog reads my comment.

It is ONLY the first memory I have of you because it is the first memory I have period. It's only my first memory because it scared the bejeepers out of me. It would not have mattered if I was in your arms. Lions coming out of your hope chest would still have scared the living crud right out of me. I was 2.5 for crying out loud. I think it would scare me to death now!

I don't remember myself as a two year old but I know myself well enough now to know that, fever or not, I was driving you crazy. Jon needed time. You needed sleep. I have a two year old now. If I recall, just this morning I asked you if you would raise him for a year because he was driving me nuts. Of course I was kidding but I still asked you if you wanted him. And I basically threw things at God for a long time because He took such a great long while to let me have that terrible two year old.

I should have said that my first memory of you was staring up at that face, so full of love, in the hospital bed. But it would have been a lie. I don't remember the first time you held me. I don't remember all the sleepless nights you rocked me and fed me and didn't toss me out the window. I do remember countless times that you blessed me but those memories come after my first memory.

I KNOW that if you had known that my temperature was anywhere near 106 you would not have kept me on the floor. Just like I would not have made Garrett lay in his own vomit for thirty minutes during the evacuations if I'd known that his crying was more than just "I don't want to be in bed" crying.

I am not scarred for life. I was never scarred. Scared, yes. Scarred, no. And if you'd put me in your bed with you every time I was scared of something, well, I'd probably still be there.

I wouldn't have written that down if I thought it would make you think you weren't a good mother or tear at your heart strings. I would have made something up. I remember being very excited when you took me to see a Care Bear movie. I couldn't have been very old for that, right?

I don't remember much about two, it's true. But I certainly know about being frustrated by a toddler who will not stop whining. So, though there is certainly no need for forgiveness to be exchanged because no wrong was committed, I forgive your tiredness and your fear that I would always be in your bed if you let me in it that time. But again, I am no worse for the wear.

And honestly, the memory is not one where you are being mean. It's simply that you are in your bed and I am not.

Dena said...

Oh my word, I have much more than just one situation that I know I'll have to apologize and explain my way through when the boys get older. UGH! But I agree with Lori, you're such a great mom, none of the other stuff matters. :o) Sweet post.

Ginny said...

Oh Dena, If I had only had one!