Twenty four hours, give or take a few, has cut the melodrama from my working mom home with a sick kid charade. It was yesterday that I received, amid a reading of To Kill a Mockingbird, a pink slip from the attendance office decorated with a scrawled "Your son is very sick. Please call..."
In typical Ashley fashion, passing the baton-o-teaching to the substitute was difficult. I had to beat into submission all those content details which would not have a chance to surface that day. I had to veer my class into a path of moderation, just enough 'English' to earn a happy check mark in all things public school holy.
The pediatrician's schedule was packed to the brim. So was her partner's. My conversation with the receptionist ended with this note:
Me: "I know I've been to the Urgent Care center, but could you explain where that is to me?"
Receptionist: "Sure. Just turn right onto Primrose, and you will see the Turner Center behind..."
My brain's fuzzy remembrance of this place was legitimized five minutes into our visit. And if it was legitimized five minutes in, at the two hours and fifteen minute mark it was carved into stone and placed, retroactively, next to the Ten Commandments as some sort of bonus necessity of soul survival. Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods. Thou shalt erase all memory of the Pediatric Urgent Care from one's memory in order to preserve one's sanity.
While redundant to mention there were sick kids everywhere, let me mention this: there were sick kids everywhere in that waiting room, the majority of whom fell into the following categories a.) unsupervised b.) b.) had a poopy diaper c.) wandering aimlessly or d.) unsupervisededly wandering around as if to promote a trail of poopy diaper stench to circulate waves of disgust throughout the room for randomized, lingering intervals of time.
My sensibility to relinquish control fell into place yesterday. Or it was yanked from me. Not sure which one. Regardless, it's this loss of control which reminds me what it means to be a parent, what it means to be a mother.
What a powerful prayer to live out, as mom or dad, a string of interruptions---lovingly. Honestly, I've fought it since I kissed Thomas his first unspoken hello. I have days, sometimes a whole week, wherein it's a happy task. Those chunks of willful, consistent selflessness seem to come in longer, stronger waves as time edges forward.
But it is still difficult to give of myself--without excuse or hesitation or sighs or a mind doing the dishes in the kitchen while playing puzzles at his side. This loss of self, however, is a gift of the greatest kind. Less of my towering righteousness and pride, less of my clutch on autonomy, less of my isolation--it builds bit by bit a vessel of peace, somehow, within me.
Thomas was curious about our nurse when she came into the room. He asked her, "Doctor?" In interpreting for her, I coached him to use her name first and then ask her the question as a sentence. Chunked into parts, he repeated, "Irma, are you a doctor?" He looked curious as she described her role as nurse. A few minutes later, the doctor did come through the door, and as clear as could be from Thomas came, "Are you a doctor?"
Even a two year old knows the equation for feeling better. Doctor = Medicine = Happy.
I trust in God's doctoral plan, his beautiful design for me as a woman. I was formed to love and care for children, to be both interrupted by them amidst my gathering of good and encouraged by them in their happy finding of it.
Today I write here and smile awkwardly at the laptop as I finish this blog post thinking of all the very un-poopy-diaper-on-a-random-kid-who-just-touched-me kind of relinquishing of control. Today was a happy loss of control. Time slowed down and ushered in some gentleness this morning. Cleaning. Choosing positive thoughts. Play-doh party wherein I was gifted with a "birthday cake". Probing Thomas's mind. And a 101 of Puzzle Heaven, instructed by Mr. Thomas who insists his one rule is that we "do it together."
Yep, that's what I'm thinking too.