Have you ever noticed that parenthood is filled with lessons on not controlling things? From when you get pregnant to what you can stand eating when you are pregnant to the sex of the baby (and you didn't even get to know that before the baby was born until about 20 years ago) to when you have the baby to when they do just about everything they do. It's all mostly out of our control most of the time for a long time.
One great, messy example of this is the stomach flu. When a child gets a cold, or even a virus with a fever, often you can just give him some juice and settle him on his bed to read some books or watch a movie. You can just check in here or there to see what you can do to help. Life often goes peacefully along it's way--maybe even more peacefully with one active body out of commission.
But not with the stomach flu. When the stomach flu hits, you drop everything to take care of it, ready or not. It can hit anywhere, anytime, and you can't anticipate how long it will take over your life. It will determine what you do with your time for as long as it hangs around--sitting next to a child with a bowl, washing endless loads of laundry immediately to get rid of the smell, trying to get a child to take tiny sips of clear liquid (never red, anything but red).
Over the years, we have had the stomach flu show up in the middle of the day but mostly in the middle of the night (why is that?), after a trip to the emergency room, while on vacation, while driving home from vacation--twice, with freshly cleaned carpet, with freshly washed sheets, while on a field trip, in the nursery at church, and even once in Sacrament meeting.
For example, for 48 hours last month, Jeffrey was battling the stomach flu. One Monday night, he fell asleep during family home evening. Rich layed him on our bed (big mistake), where Anna had also fallen asleep. Suddenly, Anna woke up soaking wet. Jeffrey had thrown up all over himself, all over Anna, and all over our bed. We immediately stopped what we were doing to deal with the mess and give two children a bath.
Two days later, as he was getting out after taking Beth to soccer practice, he threw up all over the inside front of the van. (He later assured me that he stayed in the van to throw up because he didn't want to get out and ruin the grass. Thanks, Jeffrey.) Again, we dropped what we were doing to immediately clean up the mess.
You either bow down to vomit and clean it up right away, or you pay a pretty serious consequence for a long time after.
Why are there so many life lessons in parenthood that force us to accept giving up control? I don't know. I am thinking it must be heavenly psychotherapy, preparing us for the day that we have a teenager on our hands who will not let us be in control anymore.
You know, that's not a bad theory. Throw-up, and overdue pregnancies, and teething babies, and that baby boy that the ultrasound tech assured you was most definitely a girl, and boys in general, are all here to prepare us to give up control when it matters most, when the teenagers need to grow up and learn to do some things on their own and make some important choices.
Whatever the reason, we sure get a lot of practice.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Well, it was just as good as ever. Women's Conference never fails to help me see things more clearly and feel more able to care for our family. This picture of Rich's sister Jen, my roomie, and I was taken after the conference. See how happy and refreshed we look? (What you can't see as clearly are our bleary eyes caused by staying up until at least 1 am every night--all part of the fun!)
Here is the link to the post-conference information, including re-broadcast information and transcripts of selected talks. I would highly recommend Julie B. Beck's talk which is not being re-broadcast. You can only get the transcript. It is excellent. It's not on the website yet but will be in the next week or two.
I thought I would try to record some things that touched me but haven't had the time. So instead, I added some quotes that I love to the sidebar under Favorite Motherhood Quotes. Enjoy!