Thursday, January 3, 2013


This afternoon, I got a whiff of Annabelle's breath, and was like, "Oh hey death breath." I should back up. When I was young, I had strep throat like all the time. You see, my tonsils were the size of melons and acted like giant magnets for infection and germs. Whenever I'd open my mouth at the dentist or doctor, they'd always go "WHOA! LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THOSE TONSILS!" Yeah, yeah. It got so bad that in eighth grade, my doctor finally recommended I have them removed.

So back to the death breath. When there's awesome viruses or bacteria living on your throat, and they get too active or close to the mouth, it smells like DEATH. It's horrible. Believe me, I smelled it on myself after years of strep. You know someone's breath when they've been fasting right? That's like a lovely breath of fresh lavender compared to the death breath. So I broke out my handy dandy flashlight, and one peek revealed a fair amount of white fuzz. Yay! Our pediatrician was able to fit her in at the end of the day.

I should mention here as well - Annabelle's had a stuffy nose and occasional cough for a week. The kind that almost every child under five has all winter. She wasn't lethargic, there was no fever, and she was eating and sleeping totally normal. I should also mention - because her diagnosis is not actually important to this story - that it's just a giant cold turned nasty virus. It's not strep throat. It's just really gross and has become visible on her tonsils.

So back to the doctor. Our pediatrician was running a little behind, so we sat in the waiting room watching a Disney movie. Belle was secretly thrilled I think. It was like movie night WITHOUT Lolly up in her grill! She laid her head on my lap and smiled up at me every once in a while. She had on her brave face and I could see that she was storing up her courage for her examination.

While we waited, I noticed a dad chasing his little girl around. She couldn't have been more than three years old. A cute little thing, and he was a cute dad. Several minutes into our wait, a woman walked in. The little girl ran to her and said "Mommy!" and got a hug. The mom's first words? "So what's going on with her hair here?" As they sat there, I noticed tension. Thick, obvious, awkward tension. This was later confirmed when I heard the man mention something about "mom's or daddy's house."

At one point, the little girl motioned up high to some magazines and asked her mom who was mostly ignoring her if she could see one. The mom said, and I quote: "Oh, I'm sorry. I signed up to be your mother, not your personal servant." My heart actually ached. She's just a little girl! I shot the woman a deathly glare and noticed that I had also unconsciously hugged Belle closer. The mother threw her head in the air and pursed her lips. Seconds passed. I glared. She tossed her head, cleared her throat, and started playing nice. She got the magazine for her little girl, and looked at the pictures of the babies with her.

All the while, my heart just died a little. If I could talk to this woman, I'd want to ask her something: If we - as mothers - do not serve our babies, WHO WILL? They're small, incapable of reaching the top shelf. They can't tie their shoes or brush their teeth unless we teach them. They don't understand that the oven is hot unless someone is there to show them the difference between hot and cold. When we choose to bring babies into this world, I believe we choose to live a life of service. I'm not saying that our children shouldn't learn to be independent, that they shouldn't learn the value of rewards and consequences and a job well done, or that they should be waited on hand and foot. These are all valuable and vital lessons. But in the moments where our babies need help, we signed up to be there unconditionally. 

I'm thirty-one years old. And to this day, I really heavily on my own mother. For support, encouragement, advice, validation. For unconditional love. And her service to me has not ended just because I'm grown. 

I'm so very grateful to have the opportunity to serve these precious little people. I vow to always, always be there when the book is too high to reach. There is nothing more valuable I can do as a mother than to be of service when they need me. And I vow to do so for forever.


Riss said...

That poor baby. :'(

littlered said...

I'm so thankful all of my babies have moms like you! I learn so much from your example, always. Love you sister.

Kelly said...

Shaunts this was great. (I mean beside the sad, mean mom story.) Lately I keep hearing moms speak so rudely to their children or wives to their husbands and I'm like "do I ever sound like that? Probably sometimes and I don't want to! They don't deserve it!" It's always good to remind ourselves to be gentle with hose we love. Well, you don't need reminding, you have it down, but thanks for reminding me! :)


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