We've had a pretty rough few days chez Lilahbility. Lilah brought a little something extra home from daycare the other day, and it turned out to be hand, foot, and mouth disease. A couple days of fever followed by a blistery rash on the hands and feet and in and around the mouth. While it is never fun to have a sick child on one's hands, I have to say (without hyperbole) that Thursday was one of the most difficult days in my two-year parenting career so far. I'm talking challenging and intense in the same way the newborn days are, and it followed a near-sleepless night, so it felt all too similar.
It is occasions like these (and sometimes random occasions as well) when I can hardly believe that I am really an adult; that I am old enough and responsible enough to be in charge of another person, let alone a small child who is ill and relying on me for her every need. In my mind, I am still 18, just barely an adult.
But somehow I was trusted with the responsibility of taking my prenatal vitamins, growing a small human inside of me, getting her out safely (with a little help, obviously), nourishing her, nurturing her, keeping her warm and safe, and providing her with opportunities to learn and grow.
And now here I am; the parent, the one in charge, trying to pacify a cranky toddler with a nasty virus and failing miserably. And just for a moment, that sneaky "How did I get here?" feeling creeps up, bringing with it the self-doubt, the feeling that I might not be able to handle this, that maybe someone else would do a much better job, be more patient, hold it together better.
But the truth is, we got through it. We always get through it. And I helped get her through it. I administered medications, fed her, made sure she drank enough fluids, rocked her, read to her, and restrained myself from strangling her when she sent her bowl of applesauce sailing past my head. Because I'm her mom, and that's what moms do.