Really (Truly)

It slunk through the household from little to big, and two weeks of sickness later, we're ready to move along. Sleepless nights with a croupy baby, lying cramped and curled on the tiny bathroom floor upstairs, rivulets running down walls and hair soaked from steam that rolled off the tub; a 7-hour emergency room visit a week later for that same baby, who'd swollen into a troll and who's obviously highly allergic to something; hot tea brewed by the jugful for all the children and, for some, the rare treat of honey and lemon; a walk-in visit for a girl whose sinus infection spread toward her eye...yeah, we're done. We avoid the doctor's office unless forced there (Millie cutting her toe half-off in October? We caved for that.), and our insurance doesn't cover a blessed thing until we've paid thousands in deductibles, so, really, we're done now.  Really.

One can't speak more surely than with an emphatic and italicized "Really," so it's clear that we're moving up and out of this slough.

The snow has arrived, not quite in earnest yet, but at least it covers the brown for longer stretches. I'm slogging along, or mostly trying to, and these dreary days of late January are brightened by the boys and girls who roam the house, both whose bickering and camaraderie lift me from Self.  And, then, in deep night, the little one I hold within speaks with rhythmic nudges and quicksilver thumps, in that wordless language of the yet unborn.

Motherhood is more than corralling bodies that can't be still and tidying messes that will be made again moments later, more than chopping garlic and stirring a pot and serving up portions. It's not even pinned down in reading picture books or tucking-in or training up in the way one should go. These souls that spring from such small beginnings, sparking up the dark womb, stretch and grow in body and mind with mysteries I'll never know.  In winter days that stay too long and nights that sink too fast, I sometimes catch a flash of this, and it sustains.  They are not meant to be contained, these souls.  They were created to grow and stretch and press against the womb-walls, and then, later, to grow and stretch and press against all else, until they reach the place they're meant to be.  Dirty dishes piled high, clothes to fold, books to crack, life to learn, and glimmering in it all is this great wonder.


sarah said...

We have just navigated the rapids of illness- and made expensive and necessary trips to the doctor and ER that made me a huge fan of western medicine. I love that you can write such a joy-filled paragraph about parenthood after two weeks of illness...I just love it. I'm feeling like I barely kept from drowning!

Rebecca said...

Only you can formulate such deep and profound thoughts in the midst of your own sort of stretching...stretching thin, that is. A house full of sickness is exhausting in so many ways. Worry. Pity. Stress. The weighing down and pressing upon. Mothering is hard in these moments.

So glad the children are on the upswing! The poor little things look so pitiful in those pictures! I hope you are able to be rested well now too.

heidiann(e) said...

Oh, I am so sorry to hear of all that illness.

And I love your writing. I can't say more - it feels so true here right now, too.

Mary said...

Glad everybody is on the mend! We have missed you guys!!!! Sending our love & prayers!!


cadie said...

Hope everyone is doing better now. I remember when Deirdre used to get croup... many nights up with Deirdre in a steam-filled bathroom--and not sleeping well, so tense for the next croup attack. So relieved she finally outgrew it. Sounds like you guys got quite the dose of sickness and misery. There's nothing like sickness to make the winter feel very, very long.

Abigail said...

I felt the same! All I could think about some days was how much I wanted to sleeeeep. Note that the joy-filled paragraph comes after the fact. :) I write so little these days that I often use my blog to remind myself of things that I Know Deep Down but often don't practice in the little bits of day-to-day that make up a life.

After several days of partying in Wisconsin with only a few hours of sleep a night, I SLEPT NINE HOURS LAST NIGHT. I feel like a superhero.

All else,
Thank you good folks for the empathy! There's nothing better than reading a good whine on the internet, huh? :)

Renata AtSunnyside said...

So it is well after the fact now, & I'm hoping you are all well again.
I enjoyed reading this post. You put into words how I often feel and this certainly did not come across as whining or complaining. I love how you write. You are so talented at putting emotions into words and painting beautiful word pictures.
Have a wonderful day

Abigail said...

Thanks for your kind words, Renata!