Originally written in 2008, this post came to mind as I spent the weekend with the victim of the incident described at the “Parent’s Weekend” hosted by his University where he is flourishing as a student. The youngest of our five children, Isaac is now a Freshman in college, living six hours from home, and is too far away for his Mommy to care for him when he is struck by illness. During one of our weekly scheduled phone calls in fact, I learned that he had the flu in the week prior, and had basically taken care of it himself, from seeing the campus nurse to arranging to make up missed classes. I’m so grateful to the Lord for The Boy, and for God’s tender care for him now that he lives so far away.
I wrote and re-wrote this posting several times Monday night as I was on my hands and knees on the bathroom floor, and it would have been a prize winner if I could remember all that was racing through my head. As it turns out, our sweet Erin has shared whatever gastric ailment she had with her brother, Isaac.
After we were all tucked in and sleeping soundly, Isaac bolted from his bed for the bathroom. When I found him he was standing—yes, standing—over the toilet emptying himself of the little bit of dinner he’d consumed (when did his legs get so long?). As I rushed to hold him and give what Motherly comfort I could, I slipped—bad sign. My tired brain struggled to grasp the meaning of the wet floor as I waded in to get to him. Meanwhile Kate, who had heard him first, was running downstairs to get him a cup of water with which to rinse his mouth.
After he finished I steered him to my own bathroom to get him into the shower. He’s quick, but wasn’t quite quick enough to avoid soiling his jammies. As he began showering I went back to the scene of the accident to clean up. The smell hit me like a wall as I re-entered the bathroom. Kate very helpfully stood way out in the hallway telling me emphatically to get the air freshener from the bathroom closet- further into the stench. I wadded paper towels over my face and plunged onward, splashing and slipping as I went.
Air freshener sprayed, I grabbed the bottle of concentrated pine-scented cleanser and started flinging it all over the floor, toilet and walls (walls?!?). As I’ve already said, I was still in a fog of sleep, aggravated by the adrenaline now surging through my body. Paper towels in hand I rolled up my pajama bottoms above my knees and got down to some serious mopping. As I worked my way through the slurry I started to wonder why in the world it was also all over the walls. Once I had arrived at the toilet and began the cleaning there I saw what happened. He had made it into the bathroom, but not in time to open the lid. Poor baby.
When he was an infant sleeping in my arms I knew that I would climb mountains and slay giants for this precious child. What I have learned with each of my five darling babies is that I will rarely, if ever, be required to enter burning buildings, lift cars, or dive into swirling waters to rescue my children. More often the heroism required of a mother is accomplished in the smelly, revolting, yet mundane tasks in the course of ordinary days and nights. Mopping up a vomit-coated bathroom in the middle of the night, literally up to one’s knees, then cradling the sick child while knowing that I could catch whatever he has, is how I slay giants in our home.
Two days later he is still rather green around the gills and content to stay wrapped in a blanket on the couch. Erin will return to school tomorrow—and begin Track practice— but he may need another day to be completely recovered. Poor baby.