I’ve been sick this week. Really, really sick. Flat-out-in-bed, barely-can-move-to-make-it-to-the-bathroom kind of sick. Of course, this illness developed the moment my husband went out-of-town for two days. Ugh. Great timing.
This isn’t my first experience with single parenting while sick. Once when my kids were younger (4 and 2), all three of us got the stomach flu while Hubby was overseas. That was a really ugly few days. After living through those precious moments, this bout of flu seemed almost manageable. After all, I was the only one who was sick.
What made an even bigger difference, of course, is that my kids are a few years older now. In fact, my son stepped confidently into a caretaker role, fetching me things that I needed, entertaining his sister as necessary and even volunteering to make scrambled eggs for dinner.
My illness also gave the kids a chance to play on their own… truly play without any prodding or suggestions from Mom. My inner slacker mom was glad they had a chance to put their imaginations and negotiating skills into action, and it went relatively smoothly.
At the time, it was all I could do to lift my head from the pillow. But now that I’m mostly vertical, I realize what amazing kids they are turning out to be.
As parents, we spend a lot of time arguing and agonizing about a lot of things. Bottle or breast; stay at home mom or working mom; cloth or disposable; cry it out or co-sleep… in the long run, I’m beginning to suspect these are minor details. The big picture involves simply getting our children to adulthood in one piece with the skills to take care of themselves and the people they love.
I’ve spent plenty of time worrying about the right preschool program or whether I should sign up my kids for another swim class. As I watch my kids grow, I realize that I’m missing the point. My son isn’t displaying behavior that he learned because he was fed a certain way or because he slept in a certain kind of bed.
He’s emulating me and his father. And while we’re far from perfect, we’re not such bad role models.
This random trip through my psyche simply serves as a reminder to myself that sometimes I need to stop focusing on the little things. And, more to the point, I need to stop beating myself up about things that, in the long run, really are minor.
I’m doing my best. And it turns out that my best might be okay in the long run.