The Importance of Nurture


My little boy has been sick with a stomach virus today.  I am grateful that Jacen has a great immune system (hooray for boobie milk!) so he rarely ever gets sick.  But, stomach bugs seem to catch all of us at some point or another on many occasions during our lives, and even the power of two years’ worth of breastmilk can’t always fight against that particular fate.  Especially when his sister had the bug a few days ago.

So, lots of snuggles today, which I love.  Now, don’t misunderstand.  I am NOT glad that my baby is sick.  I hate to see him miserable, and he’s too young to understand why I am being very stingy with what he can and cannot eat so as to try to minimize the pukies.  In his toddler eyes, though, I am just trying to starve him!  So, he may have some trust issues with me at the moment, but not enough to get out of my lap.  And I love the closeness.  Anyone who has had a toddler boy knows that the chances of them staying still longer than a second and a half at any given moment during the day are nearly nonexistent.  But, while he has still had bursts of playful energy throughout today, for the most part he has been happiest to sit in my lap and read or watch his favorite television shows. These are the times when I get to provide extra comfort and reassurance to my child, which is something that often gets lost in the normal hustle of day-to-day life.  Instead of trying to keep up with him and prevent any injuries, I get to hold him and show love in quieter, more tender ways.  It takes me back to memories of times when my adopted mother rocked me and comforted me during my many, many illnesses of childhood.  It’s true that my mom and I have not had the most loving, healthy relationship, but every time I think of those nights she stayed up with me I can’t help but feel grateful for what she did for me.  It was those times when she proved her love in ways she could not otherwise do.  It was those times when I felt safe and important.  And those memories cover over a multitude of sins in other departments.

I am definitely not saying it’s okay to be a crappy mother except when your kid is sick.  But I know and you know what it’s like to try to be the “perfect” mother and fail so miserably.  Even without a mental illness to muddle up good intentions, there is human error.  I know my children will not have all good memories of me.  But I hope they remember my snuggles.  I hope they remember loving words whispered in their ears right before they drift off to sleep.  I hope they remember that I loved them, every day, the best way I knew how.  

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