Tag Archives: love

Sick Child Shoes

No doubt, you’ve all been in my shoes before, and they’re not pretty shoes. They are not bright red stilettos, made for dancing. They are not ballet slippers.

They are the shoes of a mom with a sick child. They are flat, and worn, and maybe a bit tired from over-work. The soles are hanging off and they are covered in splatters.

Walking in these shoes can be confusing; sometimes, you are sure your child is exaggerating. The dramatics of belly-rubbing and painful howls are just too much to believe. Instead of letting your kid stay home to vegetate on the sofa, you send her to school anyway.

And here’s when the mom-of-a-sick-child-shoes seem to suddenly become a size too small: when two hours after dropping her off, the school nurse calls, asking that you reclaim her as soon as possible. The throat is red; the temperature is high; the Oscar-worthy dramatics have calmed down and are a mere memory, as the silent child now lies still.

And then, there are the times that are just the opposite. There are times when you’re just a little bit duped. Weary of the daily demands of parenting, you’re too tired to diagnose or to consider. You march into your kid’s room in the wee morning hours wearing a nice pair of Italian leather wedges, and march out wearing the mom-of-a-sick-child shoes that you chose to put on all by yourself. In your heart of hearts, you know your little trooper needs to take off his Transformers PJ’s and get up and go. But no…you oblige.

This is what moms far and wide refer to as a mental health day. I’m quite sure, after having lived through a few myself, that the “mental health” is more concerned with the lady in the now-raggedy shoes, instead of with a kid who should be wearing a school uniform instead of a My Little Pony nightgown.

“Mental Health” days are not about bad parenting. They are not about trying to buck the system, or about not giving a hoot. In my experience, mental health days are our moments or admitting how important our pediatricians and other medical professionals are in our lives. It is our moment of saying: “Heck, I just don’t know!”

When the thermometer reads as borderline and the throat looks a little red…but not TOO red…we make this small concession to sanity and err with the PJs and the really awful cartoons. We wish we had a quick and effortless doctor’s appraisal to pull out of our back pocket BEFORE the school bus arrives–but we don’t. In these moments, we tend to take the path of least resistance…we go with the flow.

I wonder sometimes what lesson we teach our children on this one special day every year, this borderline sick day, this weird holiday when we pretend with our child that her condition is worse than it is. We always say something like “We both know you really weren’t THAT sick–don’t expect to get away with this ever again.”

As we turn away we may grin a little, remembering our own falsely amped-up fevers and the moaning and groaning bellyaches of our childhoods. Then, once we leave the room and our questionable behavior really hits home, we wonder: are we accidentally teaching a lesson that learning isn’t important? Are we teaching that exaggerating is okay? Are we teaching something that will come to haunt us?

Whatever the appraisal turns out to be, most all parents are guilty of the “mental health day” at least once during a child’s upbringing. Although I can’t condone this as a fitting regular behavior, or even a good one, I condone it as being fully human.

Sometimes we walk in the ugly sick child shoes because we have to; at other times, we do it because we’re just too damn tired to put on a pair of heels.

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kara

Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the humorous essay collection for women, “Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women, and Careening into Middle Age.” She has read her work on NPR radio and it has appeared in dozens of magazines, newspapers and literary journals, including The Writer, Funny Times, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and many parenting magazines. Find out more at KaraMartinezBachman.com or follow her on Twitter, @80sMomKara.

Why Bother?

A lot is happening in our world these days that is frightening, sickening, divisive and evil. It’s made me question humanity, myself and my beliefs. It’s not just the terrorism, it’s how I see people treating one another every day. I see harshness, judgement and lack of empathy. People getting so caught up in how “right” they are, they’re forgetting how to be human. So enrobed in jealousy of what they don’t have, they can’t experience the happiness that can come from seeing someone else in a good place. People so angry there’s no room for anything else.

I’ve been seeing this and find myself thinking, “Why bother?”

Then this morning my little one woke. His hair was a jumble of crazy bed head, his cheeks pink from sleep. His eyes were still heavy from the night and I grabbed his face and kissed him. A shock went through me; right into my core. I saw my husband, who smiled at me and told me I looked beautiful. I kissed his cheek and felt it again, the electric shot through my body. And I knew; THIS is why I bother. It’s love.

I “bother” for love. For the feeling of touching someone and experiencing the shock of love. For hearing someone you care about tell you they love you, they’re proud of you or they miss you.

I write a lot of humorous pieces because I truly believe laughter makes everything better. I write about motherhood – the good, the bad and the ugly. I write from the heart about ADHD. I write to help make sense of it all. I write to reach out to all of those people I will never meet, who might be struggling with something today and need to know they are not alone. I write for those who just need a chuckle.

And today, I am writing to remind everyone there is a reason why we all bother. There is good out there. There are people who care, people who will fight for good. There are our children, who look to us to be the model of love, graciousness, empathy and kindness. There is love and there is hope.

 

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