Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beauty in Sickness

Sunday afternoon, Harper surprised us by developing a pretty high fever during her nap.  She woke up sweaty and crying a cry that is so reminiscent of babyhood, one that is out of the ordinary and feeble and sad.  It was just a run of the mill bug, certainly something we've dealt with before.  She's actually still fighting off the tail end of it.  

But I couldn't help but be humbled, my heart heavy with love, at how beautiful this whole motherhood business is when our baby is sick and truly needs us.  Perhaps it's the strong-willed, independent, often chaotic stage of toddler that we are in now, but to feel her sweet head on my chest, her little body warm and breathing heavily, had me filled with joy.  To be sure, I was worried about her as her fever didn't go down, even with medicine, and I certainly never want to see her sick if I can help it.  Yet, in those moments, when it's happened anyway and  there's nothing there to distract me, when we are in our own little world, I can't help but feel so much love.  I wanted to wrap myself around her fully and hold her forever.  As I sat there rocking her and the minutes ticked by, I found myself nostalgic for our nursing days, when I felt the same so-strong tug of the unfathomable love you can have for your child, especially when they are so vulnerable and need you completely.   Her body was heavy against mine, fully trusting in my arms that encircled her.   I ran my fingers through her unruly curls, crushed by the weight of this beautifully blessing that we get to call ours. 

As a mom, there are so many things you just do because, why wouldn't you?  You bathe, you feed, you diaper, you play, you comfort, you feed again... and you do those things because you love your child and wouldn't think otherwise.  But so often, that intense and a little crazy love that makes you a mom is buried under the everyday.  Sunday was a beautifully sunny day with warm temperatures, and I had plans of us going to the playground to enjoy the fresh air.  Yet when the course of our day changed to soothing and lukewarm baths and me rocking a sad little girl for hours, I couldn't have been happier.  We had all day.  I could sit in her chair and hold her panting body for hours on end.  I wanted to.  Harper has never liked to cuddle, and I can count on one hand the times she's fallen asleep on me, save for the very first weeks of her life.  She's certainly at a stage now where she begs for you to hold her, but doesn't really want to be held. We're lucky if we can coax her into a hug!

So when she fell asleep in my arms on a lazy Sunday, even though I wished I could take her discomfort away, I relished these moments of holding my sweet girl and loving her with every fiber of my being.  As we rocked, I thought in her fitful sleep she was wiggling her fingers against my belly.  When I checked her hands, they were nowhere near it, and I realized her little sister was wiggling away inside me, as her big sister unknowingly cuddled close.  I had felt flutters before, but this was the first true movement I felt.  If I wasn't feeling the overwhelming, bittersweet, crushing love of a mother for her baby before, I certainly was then. 

This motherhood thing will take you by surprise sometimes.  Beautifully.  


  1. Beautifully written. I've read it twice now and I'm sure I'll read it again. You've jumped inside my head and written out eloquently exactly how it feels to rock my normally un-cuddly toddler tornado when she's sick. We are so lucky to be their mothers, aren't we?
    What a wonderful group cuddle with BOTH of your daughters! :)

  2. Love this- I agree with everything you wrote!! Being a mommy is awesome :)

  3. i love how you put this feeling into words. :) so true.


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