Last week, Ezra got the flu and it took several days before he got over it. One night, his fever soared to 101°F and he wasn’t able to sleep well because his stuffy nose was making it difficult for him to breathe. Naturally, we brought him to the pediatrician and I took care of him at home — prescribed meds, nasal saline spray, steam inhalation, more fluid intake, elevating the head and even gentle sucking of his nose’s mucus! I know, I know. A lot of parenting manuals and “experts” warned us about that last bit. But honestly? I don’t trust our bulb syringe anymore. For all we know, there might be some yucky stuff inside! I guess I gotta get my hands on that NoseFrida. But anyway, that’s just me. Don’t worry about the sucking, though, because I didn’t really suck “suck” it. I just tried to GENTLY “sip a little” — and yes, I brushed my teeth. Don’t judge.
Seeing my little one so frail and indisposed crushed my heart to tiny little pieces. He’s usually still zingy even when he’s ailing, but last week was different. Can you pass the virus to me instead? Can I just be the one who’s sick? Can you please be hyperactive again? I wouldn’t mind you messing up the house, filling every corner with toys. Of course, the last one is just something we say out of desperation.
Every time our child gets ill, mothers are quick to “beg for the bug.” We would pray about it, even often thinking about how our child got sick and how we hope it was us. We wouldn’t mind hugging our child even if it means we could catch the virus, and all of a sudden, we become people who do not need sleep! Seriously! No matter how long our day had been, no matter how swamped we were with work and household chores, mothers with sick babies will ALWAYS stay up late to nurse — never mind the eye bags or the zombie look that looms next.
When we see our child worrying about something or feeling scared, we want to take away and own the pain, the discomforts, the fear. Selfless? Indeed. That’s what mothers are.
When I was younger, my mom would always give all the yummy food to us. As kids, we would mindlessly take them, not thinking Mama never even had a bite. When I grew up, I learned to refuse my mom’s selfless offers. But sometimes, she’s just really a very very persistent person, and she’s so selfless she would give up her favorite chicken just so her children would enjoy eating (to think we already have our share). I used to think my mom is just not that hungry or that maybe she’s not into chicken anymore because WHO WOULD GIVE UP ALL HER FOOD ALL THE TIME?! I mean, once or twice at a time is okay. But EVERY SINGLE MEAL? And it’s not even just chicken! It’s ANYTHING!
I never understood how profound a mother’s love is… until 3 years ago when I gave birth to a cheeky monkey named Ezra. I don’t know how to describe it but I’m sure other moms could understand… Having a child opens up the heart in ways you cannot imagine. It makes you love in unfathomable depths, something you never thought you are capable of… something you never even knew existed.
Today, we had fried chicken for lunch. When Rael and I were not yet married, Rael would give all his chicken skin to me because he knows it’s my favorite — until now, 5 years later, he still does. Every single time. The big change is, Ezra wants them now, too. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind.
These are just little things, yes. But a mother’s love goes beyond giving up our favorite food, wanting to get sick instead of them, hoping to wipe off their worries with our warm embraces or putting everyone else’s needs and wants first. It goes beyond giving a kidney, a liver, a lung, a life.
Despite the pining yearn of wanting to make everything better for our kids, mothers understand that we can’t always exonerate their pain for them. We know we do not have to grant all their wants all the time or make everything all sunshine and rainbows for them. We know that we have to hone them to become independent individuals who are not entitled, not selfish, not materially spoiled, not uncouth. And that’s where it gets difficult. How do we inculcate good qualities? How can we allow them to experience adversity for them to grow through life? As selfless parents, we tend to want EVERYTHING to be our problem… every cross to be ours to bear. We want life to be easy for them. And yet we know that’s not healthy. So, we try to find the balance. And that’s not an easy thing to do… It doesn’t even get easier over the years… Kids can get difficult, needy and just over-the-top exhausting sometimes… They can even get hard to read, hard to reach, hard to talk to… but mothers? We just love them selflessly.
And here I am, getting all these thoughts over fried chicken skin.
Aileen, you write amazing stories! I can’t wait to be a mom myself just by reading your articles! 🙂
Awww thank you, Nic ❤❤❤