It was yesterday. It started out like any other morning. Until 6:30 AM when Noah came bounding into my room. But instead of curling up with me like he normally would, he came to inform me that he had an accident in his pants. He claimed his stomach hurt, he assumed he had diarrhea and started crying because he didn’t want to die before seeing his mama (who has been out of town). I calmed him down and told him he probably was hungry and needed food in his tummy.
I got oatmeal for the kids and Juliette danced to the table and ate heartily while Noah didn’t move from the couch. I gave him some orange juice and called the kids grandparents to see whether they thought I should keep Noah from school. In all seriousness, I thought he was joking and really just wanted to skip out of school. I was informed that the kids aunt (who was over with us on Sunday) was also sick and Noah should probably stay home from school. Literally thirty seconds after hanging up the phone, Noah’s orange juice came back up.
And so our day began.
I cleaned the carpet, using 4 different cleaning solution bottles I found in the cupboard and absentmindedly tried to play with Juju while trying to figure out what to do with her. I didn’t want her to catch whatever Noah had. Thirty minutes later I managed to whisk her off to school and get Noah back home before the diarrhea kicked in again. He was a trooper through the whole thing, never once complaining. He changed into 4 different pants in about 2-3 hours. After rinsing the clothes out in the tub, I tossed the whole mess of dirty clothes, towels, a bath mat and a couch cushion into the washer.
By the time I washed my hands for the twentieth time, Noah perked up from the couch and ask “Can we play, miss Heidi?” I told him he had to rest a bit, that his body was still feeling sick. And sadly, minutes later my point was proven again. We spent most of the morning on the couch, watching movies and changing clothes. I cleaned the tub, put the dirty dishes in the dish washer to be cleaned, and called his grandma to see when I should start giving Noah food and water.
Around 11 AM, I gave him some saltine crackers with water. About thirty minutes after that he got half a banana. Still nothing came up, so I turned on a movie and after we watched, I gave him half a bagel, hoping that I wouldn’t fill his tummy up too much and have it erupt everywhere. He got to talk to his parents on the phone, I got to switch the wash to the dryer, I stripped his bed, he played games on an ipad, I put his sheets in the washer, and somehow we manged two hours without any incidents.
After 2 PM, we were in the clear. He felt much better, we got to play with cars, had a little more food, play games and we just relaxed. By that time the items I had placed in the dryer that morning were still damp. The machine was running, but the clothes were cold, not warm when I checked them. I later found out the heating unit was broken. Thankfully Lizzy has a drying rack and floor vent heaters. I brought the rack upstairs, tossed one of the bedsheets over top and left it to dry. (Dear mom and dad: While living at home I rarely used the racks in the winter to dry my clothes over the heater, I’m thankful you showed me what to do in the event there is no dryer. You are a inspiration and I look up to you both in many ways through life)
The rest of the day was much more relaxed. Aftr putting away clean dishes and clothes, I cleaned the tub again and found Noah asleep. I took the opportunity to sit for a moment and read. It was glorious. Eventually Juliette arrived home with her grandparents, we swapped stories, I played with the kids and before long it was time for bed. The kids put up their usual begging to stay up longer (especially since their mom was coming home that night) I read a small section of a bird book we got from the library and tucked them in.
I was so tired. The backs of my hands were looking red and dry from the million times I had washed my hands. The top of my head to my tailbone all ached because of the busy day we had. I was ready for bed.
As I sat with the kids in their room, waiting for them to go to sleep, I thought back through my day. It had been so hard. But it was one of those days, that despite the puke and diarrhea, despite how many loads of laundry I had to do, or how many times I had to pull out chemical bottles to clean a floor or tub or toilet, I had survived it. And I felt so good. My head hurt, I was tired, my hands felt like they were rubbing raw, I was not happy it was 9:15 pm and the kids still were not asleep. But I could see God’s hand had been with us the whole day.
I had started the day facing a giant of sickness and God brought him down before the day was over. And he protected Juliette and myself from that sickness. I was so thankful. It was gross and not something I’d like to have to go through again. But it was over. The sickness was gone and we had survived! I just sat on the kids bed, thanking God for His strength in getting through the day.
I remember when I would live at home on the farm and have to work with my dad on Saturdays. We would have to stack firewood or fix fences. We would move cows, weed gardens, stack hay bales, or other random jobs that involved a lot of physical strength. But at the end of those days, while I was so tired and ached, I felt so good. While my muscles wailed in pain, I knew I would get stronger, the work we had done had been worth it.
Yesterday felt the same way. I got to go to sleep smiling, because while my body ached, I knew what I just went through had been worth it. I learned a lot through yesterdays adventures. The more I live here in Alabama, the more I am finding the tired strength many women find in life. There’s sickness days, long hard days, dirty dishes and laundry days, no showers and feeling like a mud puddle days. There’s complaining children, hungry children, angry children and sick children days. And yet through it, somehow mothers all across the world find their way to still live life despite the tired they feel.
I am getting a small taste of that. And while in the moment I will ask God to send me clean pants for a child because I’m nearly out and the dryer is broken, I can look forward knowing when it’s all over, I’ll be stronger. These tired days are hard. But they bring strength that is so worth it and I’m thankful for all that I have gotten to learn, feel, see and experience through them.