Yesterday Roan stayed home from school with a stomach bug. Taking care of Ro while he is sick is one of my favorite things. It’s a time when he is thankful for the smallest things, and falls back on routines from his baby-hood. I always build him a “nest” on the couch – with a multitude of blankets and pillows. We keep the curtains down so it’s dark and have movies lined up that he will enjoy. Often he will let me play with his hair while he falls asleep and holds onto my hand for dear life.
But now things are different. With our two tiny twin masters running around, climbing and trying to bake themselves in the oven, I’ve had to put Roan’s extra-special sick day treatment on auto pilot. There’s still a nest, and movies, but other than intermittent kisses and tests of his forehead while I’m pulling a baby off the bookshelf, he’s kind of on his own. This was made painfully clear to me yesterday as Roan jumped up from the couch at the exact time I was stripping the babies of their clothes to put them in the bath. The water was running, the baby gate was open, and I was fully engaged in pre-bath operations. Roan jumping up from the couch means only one thing: time to throw up.
To my eldest son’s credit, he is awesome with a capital A-W-E-S-O-M-E at hitting the bowl. He hasn’t missed the toilet, sink, or designated throw-up bowl in years. (Except one time when he threw up in his sleep but that is asking too much, no?) So I knew he’d be alright, and sure enough, with two naked wiggly babes locked under each arm I looked over my shoulder and there he was, hunched over the designated throw-up bowl. And it dawned on me as I offered him only words of congratulations and made my way into the bathroom to bathe the babes that I love that kid Roan in all new ways as he gets older. Aside from a little slap of guilt that I couldn’t get to him to hold his hair or rub his back as he did his thing, I felt giant big waves of love and gratitude that he was fine, that he didn’t expect me to be there, and that me yelling out questions about if he was ok was actually enough.
Weird to have such a lovely epiphany during such a grotesque function.
Once I got the twins sorted and safely in their own zone, I made my way to Roan who had sweetly told me he was done, and that he was sorry that I had to empty the bowl. And then offered that after I got the babies to bed, he hoped I could spend some time cuddling with him. Which I did, and as my hands made their way through his hair and across his back and back to his hair, I remembered how scary it felt to consider having another kid when Roan was my only one. I feared that I would love him less, or differently, or that sharing the feeling of being someone’s mom would make him less special to me. And those thoughts and fears now seem like a foreign language to me – totally alien. Having more children has brought me even closer to my first boy. I love him in such an enormous way. Such an enormous way, that watching him throw up inspires me to love him more. Motherhood is totally ridiculous.