It was a rare weekend in our house. We had no plans. It was supposed to be relaxing. I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish around the house. The girls were supposed to leave on Sunday for five days with their grandparents.
Then my younger daughter sat on my lap Friday night. And she was hot. No big deal, I thought. She’s been outside in the 90-degree heat. She’ll cool off soon. I left to go shopping with my mom. When I got home, she was curled up in her bed, glassy-eyed and hot. 102 fever and a sore throat. Ugh.
Still, I wasn’t worried. It looked and sounded like strep, which is easy to fix. A day of antibiotics and she’d be fine. And, most importantly, she’d still be able to go spend the week with her grandparents. She was looking forward to that week, and so was I.
Off to the doctor we went. One rapid strep test later, we got the bad news. No strep. It’s a dreaded virus. We just have to wait for it to go away.
She’s had a fever for parts of three days now. Her throat hurts, her head hurts, she’s miserable. My productive weekend went by the wayside. My week without kids got postponed. She spent much of the weekend curled up in my lap.
As miserable as my daughter has been this weekend, I have to admit my attitude about the whole thing hasn’t been good. I had this week planned. I was going to spend some time with my husband. I was going to accomplish some projects around the house. I was going to get caught up on some writing and planning for our mom’s group that starts back up in the fall. A sick kid was not on my agenda.
As I fought the inevitable postponement of what we call GrandCamp, I was reminded that all of those other things are important, but this sick child before me is my primary priority at this stage in my life. My girls are 10 and 12. There won’t be many more years where they want to sit in my lap when they are sick (there won’t be many more years when they even fit in my lap). While I never want my girls to be ill, I do need to treasure these small moments when they still need me to be a hands-on mom.
I think God gives us these moments with our kids to remind us that they need us. Every step our kids take toward independence frees up some portion of our time. From taking their first step to sending them off to college, independence makes our kids need our hands-on attention less. And often we fill that free time with other things — work, volunteering, friends. Moments like the ones I’ve had this weekend serve as a reminder that our kids need us.
They need us to be ready to jump in and be a hands-on mom to help them through the tough times. Whether they’re 1 or 31, there are moments when our kids need us to be present in their lives. All that other stuff we fill our time with falls by the wayside when one of our kids is sick or hurt or just needs us to be by their side. Because that’s the heart of a mom.
The moments I’ve spent with my 10-year-old in my lap or on the couch beside me this weekend haven’t all been fun. I’m frustrated with the rearranging of my schedule. But I’m reminded that my priority is my kids. I’m reminded that if I’m available when my kids need me, then my kids will continue to bring their problems to me. I’m reminded that God drops everything to be there for me, and if I want to follow His parenting example, I have to be ready to drop everything when my kids are in need. Even if it means rearranging the schedule and pushing some other things to the bottom of the to-do list.