Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Motherhood as a form of redemption

My daughter was sick for several days with h1n1. She did ok with it...there were fevers, she was exhausted, and a couple episodes of vomit.

Caring for her during this illness carried me back to my childhood. This past year, with my mom being ill , has been partially healing, and partially giving me the feeling of ripping off a very large scab.
When I was a little girl, my mom was an alcoholic. This meant that sometimes I would have a mother who would do lovely things with me like make potato stamps, work in the garden, dance together to Abba while cleaning. It also meant that sometimes I wouldn't have a mother. I would have woman passed out on the couch, or incoherent or....just not there.

I have a few memories of being sick with her. One time I had pink eye, and it reminded me of a book I had. One of the illustrations was a rabbit with big pink eyeballs...so I thought of that, hopped around and yelled PINK EYE PINK EYE. I think I was 4. She took me to the Dr, and I ate a donut on the way while I sat in the backseat with my dog Max. I didn't finish my donut so I left it on the back window shelf thing that our car had. When I came back, the donut was gone, but Max was happy. Probably the only reason I remember this day is because of Max eating my donut.

When I was 7 my mom left. Just left. In my ability to recollect this time, it is from the viewpoint of a 7yo..there was mom...then there was not mom. I was left with my father who became profoundly depressed.

My dad was a wonderful man, but had not the slightest inkling about how to care for a young girl. I once came down with some horrible illness...with fevers and throwing up. I didnt know what to do, so I took my blanket, went into my father's room with the bread pan that I was using to throw up in and laid down on his wood floor. All I knew is that I wanted to be near a grown up...someone to take care of me, and even if they didn't it was good enough to just be there and hear him breathing.

When Gwen got sick, these snippets of memory along with several others in the same vein swirled into my mind. It made me sad, I cannot argue that. However, the realization that my children will never, ever, be left alone like I was fixed something in me. To be with my daughter and soothe her during her fevers, to change the bed at 2am that we were sharing and she threw up in, to know that she would not feel alone and have to sleep on hard wood floors with a very thin blanket and high fever...it was in a way like I was redeemed from these aspects of my childhood.

1 comment:

mimi said...

This was really powerful.....I think that you think like me ;) I love that your daughter being sick brought such deep (and some sad memories)to the surface, but also shows hope, love and like you said..redemption.