The lessons of September

I had planned to write a leisurely blog post about books tonight.  But then around eight o’clock I heard Lukey crying in his room and went in to investigate. He stood up to greet me and then promptly threw up all over the crib and the floor.

Matthew, who was five minutes away from bedtime himself, looked at the mess wide-eyed.  I girded my loins and pulled my little boy out of the crib and plunked him in the tub for his second bath of the evening.  He protested weakly, the poor little guy, as I washed and rinsed him clean.    Scott was working late, and my heart sank at the thought of having to clean up the carpet, wipe down the mesh sides of the crib tent, and wash sheets, pillowcase, blankets, and stuffed dogs all on my own.

“Mommy,” said Matthew helpfully from the doorway, “it might be good for Luke and me to watch TV while you clean up.”

They sat through an entire episode of Caillou while I mopped up the mess.  Alas, when I put fresh clean Lukey into his fresh clean bed, he threw up again.  The good news: I pulled him out of the crib before it could spread to his stuffed bear. The bad news: in the process of doing so, my shorts were sacrificed to the cause.

In all, it was an entire hour of bathing, scrubbing, washing, rinsing, sterilizing, and showering.  I went through two sheets, countless antibacterial wipes, and no small amount of Lysol spray.  I also went through a range of  emotions: grim determination, self-pity, and deep sympathy for my sick little guy.

This is the stinky part of parenthood.  And yet here’s the good news: even though I started by having a full-on pity-party in my head, I was still eventually able to take the long view and find — yes, it’s true — the positive.  Maybe this is because it’s September, and every September gets me remembering  the past. Six years ago at this time, I had just had my second pregnancy loss in a row — a devastating miscarriage which came a year after a devastating ectopic.   We seemed destined to have to experience all the possible ways that  a pregnancy can fail, and it was brutally painful.  I was seriously doubting whether I’d ever be able to carry a pregnancy to term.  Throw in the grief I felt for those two little lives that had been lost inside me, and it was a very dark time.

So six years ago, on September 20th of 2005, if you had told me that I’d one day be spending an hour wiping vomit off of my son’s crib, I’d have been absolutely wild with joy.  Bring it ON, I’d have said, and meant it.   And you know what?   Tonight I look at my messy little boys and the laundry that stinks to high heaven and the big old can of Lysol, and I think: I’m blessed.  I’m richly blessed.

For real.

4 Responses to The lessons of September

  1. Sorry to hear you got thrown up on — twice. That is rough! But you are so right to look at these times as part of the gift of parenthood. Every moment we have with our kids, both the good and the bad, are gifts. I admire you for stopping to appreciate that in the midst of cleaning up such a mess — twice.

  2. Both these posts brought tears to my eyes. Beautifully written – thank you for sharing your heart. I needed this reminder on a rainy day of a raging migraine and two cooped-up boys! This journey is so much bigger and better than the bad days, and it helps so much when we remind each other and pull each other along. Hope your little guy will be feeling better soon.

  3. This is so beautifully and movingly put – I am all teary-eyed and reminded of the healing power of love. Thank you for this.

  4. Thank you, everyone, for your comments and good wishes. Luckily,the vomiting appears to have been a one-night-only performance (knock on wood!) ….