I spent last night cleaning up vomit, all the way into the wee hours. The Child has something double-plus ungood, and although we have not yet identified it, the upshot is that she feels wretched. I am on my 4th load of laundry, and the house smells not-so-faintly of puke. I am pretty sure that is the first time our dog has been thrown up on (the irony was not lost on me, even as I was scrubbing the carpet, that she threw up on the dog. Pretty funny.).
I had plenty of time for contemplation last night, and I thought about what it means to be a "good mother." It has nothing to do with being fun, being financially generous or being strict. It has nothing to do with keeping the house clean or doing certain things at certain times (e.g., the Family Picture). Everyone, at some point or another, is those things or does those things. For me, being a "good mother" is putting yourself aside when your child really needs you. It is, messily enough, holding the bucket, scrubbing the carpet and washing the dog at midnight. It is reassuring her, after she apologizes for "ruining" my Mother's Day, that THIS is what makes me her mom. It is realizing that we only have our children for a short period of time and, when the rubber meets the road, understanding that the short period of time isn't guaranteed.
Motherhood was not my calling, but The Child is. She makes me realize what matters every day, and for that I am grateful. So the day after Mother's Day I salute my sweet, sick baby and honor the ways she makes me a better person.
Je t'aime, mon petit chou fleur!