I consider myself to be a diligent mom, an attentive mom, and even a paranoid mom. And, even though that may be true…stuff still goes wrong.
Some years back, my daughter became ill with a respiratory flu. She was miserable for weeks. I finally decided that she was tired because she had been in bed for too long and that what she needed was to get up and get moving. So, I packed her (complaining and whining) into the car while I drove her siblings to school.
At the time, we lived so far out in the country that counting road-kill was how the kids entertained themselves on the long rides into town. Halfway down the road Danna twirled in her seat to look out the window and then looked at me with huge eyes. “Did you see that?!” she asked me. “What?” I replied. “That possum was wearing a little coat!” Her siblings thought that was the most hilarious thing they had ever heard, but Danna was quite adamant that there was a possum in a coat on the side of the road.
This should have been red flag number one.
On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store. Although Danna begged to stay in the car, I made her come in with me. She needed exercise. Halfway through my list, I turned to find her with tears pouring down her cheeks from a coughing fit.
This should have been red flag number two.
However, by this time my patience with her complaining was growing thin. I bought her a can of pop and told her to drink it to help her quit coughing.
Once home, I made her carry in a bag of groceries. I was struggling to get the rest of the groceries out of the car when I heard running water. I looked around to see what pipe had sprung a leak when I caught sight of Danna. She was standing with a bag in one arm and her can of soda in the other hand. She was holding the can … upside down ... while it poured pop all over the floor. I yelled at her and she jumped and looked at me with a completely vacant stare on her face.
This should have been red flag number three.
Somehow, I still maintained that she had been in bed too long. So, next I made her do a load of laundry and then sit at the table to do homework. Jerry came home from work at that point, took one look at her and said, “She doesn’t look too good.” He took her temperature. It was 105.4.
And so, Danna got ANOTHER car ride. This time to the emergency room. After a chest X-ray she was diagnosed with pneumonia. I felt horrible. But, then she mimicked me in a snotty voice, “I think you’ve been in bed too long.” I felt a little better after that. A few weeks later when she lost the majority of her hair as a result of the high fever, I had the grace to feel bad again. It did grow back. Eventually.
I learned that day that no matter how diligent we moms are, we can’t protect our kids from the dangers and ills of this world or from our best intentions.
I waited and waited that year for my mother-of-the-year award, but it never came. I’m pretty sure it got lost in the mail.
I hate it when that happens.