Sunday, March 8, 2015

What Is a Mother's Job?

What is my job as a mother?  I assume it's the same as all mothers:

To love our children, provide for them, take care of them, protect them and do whatever it takes to make them happy.  Right?

When Ellen was admitted into the hospital for pneumonia I went through different stages.

Fear and confusion: When urgent care told me to go straight to the ER and quickly. Even then I still had no idea how sick she really was.  One of the most hardest things in life for me is to hold back tears of sadness and tears of fear in front of my children.  When I couldn't stop the tears, my daughter got scared and started crying too.

Teach my children to be strong but it's still okay to cry.

Mission Mode: Swing by the house (even though we weren't supposed to) and gathered up clothes, toothbrush and pajamas because I knew Ellen wasn't coming home for a while. Listen to the doctors, do what they say, answer their million questions, fill out forms. This also goes into the Fear and Confusion Mode. 

Teach my children to always be prepared.

(No) Sleep Mode. 4 am with being awake for almost 24 hours and still million more questions running through my mind, I finally fall into slumber only to be woken every half hour by nurses, doctors and noises all around. More questions and overload of orientation info.

Teach my children to be patient.

Whatever It Takes Mode:  Whatever it took to get my daughter to cooperate, comfort her, get her better. The look in her eyes when I allowed these doctors to hurt her by inserting an IV and stick her finger for blood tests. I'm her mother. My job is to protect her, kiss the boo boos away and I'm allowing these doctors to give her pain.

Teach my children that sometimes pain can be a good thing.

Prayer Mode:  Praying and more praying. Not demanding answers but asking for protection and successful surgery. Guidance for the doctors and begging for super strength to get through this. Strength for my daughter. 

Teach my children the power of prayer and to believe in miracles.

Crying Mode:  While Ellen was in surgery, promising her I would not ever leave her side, the surgeon kicked me out once she was asleep so they can do their job.  Then when I found my way through the hospital maze, I found the chapel. Kneeling down in front of the cross I couldn't even pray because I was crying so hard, wanting to hurry up and cry as fast as I can before someone came in and saw me.  I'm supposed to be strong, right? 

Teach my children that it's okay to cry.

Hunger Mode:  I'd never felt so hungry. Almost 24 hours without eating anything, I scarfed my food down so I could get back to the surgery waiting room in case Ellen got done early. I promised her I'd be the first thing she'll see when she woke up. 

Teach my children to keep their promises.

Panic Mode:  Surgery took an extra 15 minutes expected because she lost two teeth and they couldn't find one of them and had to do extra X-rays.

Teach my children that surprises happen and to learn to roll with the punches.

Relief... for now.

Irritated Mode: Leave us alone!  Let us sleep. Stop talking so loud. Make your pager thing stop beeping every 5 seconds. Make that G-D IV beeping stop. Seriously? X-rays at 4:45am???? Let her sleep!!!!! 

Teach my children that kindness goes a long way.

Anger Mode: How could this have happened? Why?  Why couldn't I have seen the signs?  Why didn't I demand an x-ray at the first doctor's appointment?

Teach my children that life is full of unanswered questions and learn to accept that.

Then back to prayer mode, where I will stay.


My little girl's lung was nearly completely full of fluid from pneumonia. The doctors are amazed how well she looked and how well she was functioning on only one lung. She was still going to cheer practice and we had no idea. Ellen had no idea she was sick.  I had no idea she was THIS sick. 

Thank God 7-year-olds don't know what "failure" means because that's how I feel. The doctors assured me that we did everything right. We made the right phone calls at the right time. Ellen has such a high tolerance for pain and didn't show any other symptoms that even the doctors are amazed.  She was functioning on one lung and she's still so strong and brave!

Worried Mode:  My baby doesn't want to see her friends. She doesn't want visitors. She's bored out of her mind. She has enough activities, books, crafts and games to keep her occupied for a month and her eyes look so blank. Children need fresh air. They need sunlight.  Cabin fever has set in for all of us.

Teach my children that it's okay to feel like crap when you don't feel good.


As I lay awake in the wee hours of the morning listening to all the hospital sounds, including my stomach growling, I wonder: Why did God let this happen?  What am I supposed to learn from this?  How is this supposed to teach me to be a better mother?

I keep telling Ellen we have to take this journey day by day and do our best to be patient.  We have to trust God and know that He will heal my baby and we will rise above this!

That's what I'm teaching my children.

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