“She rose up from that bed a mother, and ready to fight for the rest of her days. What does it matter for a woman to give up her self, and live quietly, with the choices she has made? But when the woman becomes a mother, she can no longer participate in the slow rot. Because no one’s going to rot the child. And anyone who tries will suffer the mother’s consequences.” –Lydia Netzer, shine shine shine
There is a sisterhood of these women, the ones who rise up from their delivery beds or from the desk where papers were signed, a newly created soul, that of Mama. Fierce and protective and loving and tender. We see each other and nod. We each make our own choices for these who have been entrusted to us. But there is a camaraderie that cannot be broken. We need each other. This came to life for me in the midst of a miserably hot and humid Sunday afternoon. When my little guy vomited in public.
Cooter was dehydrated, I’m convinced. We were at the MouseHouse and it had been a busy day, most of it out in the hot, hot sun. Waiting in line for cool, long-anticipated autographs, standing as the sun beat down on us watching a parade, and walking from one attraction to the other. Hot.
It was our first day there, so we hadn’t gotten the routine of pouring water down our throats–constantly–down yet. I had my little guy drinking but I think it was too late. He was wilting like a petunia in the full sunlight. Right before my eyes. I bought a cold drink, and we sat down in the shade.
The Fella took a baby wipe and got it really wet so I could rub Cooter’s neck and forehead with it. He liked that, but he was still miserable. He was barely sipping anything. One Mama with her child looked over and gave me the “I understand” look and told her child they would move to give us more space, since he didn’t feel good.
After getting him to suck on some ice and sip some water, Cooter seemed to be a little better. We got him to stand up, but no, he wanted to be held. His Daddy picked him up. He just melted in the Fella’s arms.
Rather suddenly he scrambled to get down. The instant his feet hit the ground he was throwing up. And it wasn’t quiet. At all.
Oh my. Bless him.
After I got him settled back down as comfortably as I could with ice and a cool cloth, I set to work using the last of my baby wipes to clean up the “mess.” And I noticed that the mama/preteen girl pair that had jumped up when it happened were seated back exactly where they had been before. Fairly close to the EVENT.
I don’t know why exactly but that comforted me. That put some normalcy in what had happened–no big deal, happens every day, right?
Well maybe not, but it sure helped my feelings. I leaned over and said, “I am so sorry. I think he got too hot. I apologize for this.”
The Mama looked over and smiled, waving her hand. “I have children too. It happens. Don’t worry. Hope he feels better.”
Well I’ll be.
And that. That is what I’m talking about. The grace that comes from this sisterhood of one day anticipating the life you carry within, or the child that waits for you at the end of a long labor of paperwork, and the next day the child is in your arms and from that day on–you are the One. The Mama. Mother. Madre. Mommy. Mom. The one who wipes the bottoms and noses. Who dries the tears. Who holds the hands. And who cleans up the vomit. The one who finds a clean outfit when an accident happens. And who says, “It will be okay” and sets out to make it so. The grace that looks another Mama in the store in the eyes and says, “No, you go ahead–my crew are at home today, but I know what it’s like to have one begging for a toy and the other crying from lack of sleep and a third trying to wander off. I get it.” The grace that takes another Mama by the hand and says, “I don’t know where this journey is headed, but I’ll walk with you because someone forgot to give any of us the instruction manual. We’re all winging it around here.” The grace that doesn’t hear the whining or the tears or screams nearly as much as the child’s Mama does because hey, what Mama hasn’t had to deal with that out in public?
Grace. The Sisterhood of Mamas.
Tonight I’m thankful for the kindness of that Mama sitting there, very likely in the–ahem–“splash zone,” who didn’t blink an eye. I was close to tears but seeing her stay cool and near about nonchalant calmed my spirit and my anxieties. I will take care of my children. I will fight. I will protect. I will cherish. I will teach. I will love. Forever and always. Whatever that looks like. Even if, as in that moment, it means being down on my hands and knees cleaning up “unloveliness” as fast as I can with baby wipes. And holding my sick baby, trying to get him well the best I know how. The other Mama, this sister, was a gift to me in that moment; she was my feather. I think of her, and hope that one day I can pass on that grace and comfort to someone else.
Love to all. #bethefeather
*****Cooter did recuperate just fine. An hour later he was sitting in air conditioning, drinking some apple juice (thanks to my SIL for suggesting that) and eating his supper. He even had an ice cream sundae for dessert (yes, I know, I was asking for it). He bounced back and was fine from then on. Thankful for that.