On the job training

I knew it was coming, right? I had to know it was coming.

Friday afternoon, I got that feeling. I was in the car rider line at Dillon's school, and I took deep breaths and tried not to panic as traffic inched along, out of the school parking lot and down the slow moving two-lane road that leads to home. 

I barely made it. I got sick. 

Of course I got sick. Because last week, Dillon got sick, and then Blake got sick, and then Cate got sick. On me. Twice. 

My newfound state of calm couldn't shield me from the yearly stomach bug. Not this time. I've escaped its wrath for a few years now, and I was beginning to think the invisible bubble I draw around myself when the kids start throwing up actually works.

Ha! (That was the sound of the virus laughing in my face.)

On Friday afternoon, I was thankful that Dillon is almost eight, because I put him in charge of his younger siblings and collapsed into the bed. I listened as they played in the next room, and I was relieved that they're all a little bit older. 

I was thankful that when I finally got up to check the damage, there was only a lollypop lying on the floor (courtesy of Cate) and few sticky spots.

I was thankful that my husband would be home soon. I was thankful that the next day was Saturday, and we didn't have to figure out the extra logistics that come up when mom is sick on a weekday. 

Saturday, I slept almost the entire day. I was completely wiped out, and I was thankful for the simple chance to rest. 

It's the thing they never tell you when you're about to become a mom. Sure they say things like, "Sleep when the baby sleeps," but they never tell you how you're never off duty. And if they did, I wasn't listening, or I didn't really understand, or I judged them for being a buzz kill, for trampling on my baby bliss. Or I thought all of that advice wouldn't apply to me, because I'd do it differently. 

It's just one of those things you learn in the midst of the living and the doing and the hardly ever sleeping. I've gotten used to it. I'm well-conditioned. I'm proud and thankful to be in good parenting shape, even if I do welcome the breaks when I get them. 

I know my children will always need me—my job is never really done—and I'm glad for that. I know it all goes by fast, too fast, and that's the reason I save certain toys and items of clothing, even though I'm cleaning up the place.

I actually love being the mom of little kids. I'm not ready to not be the mom of little kids. 

But Dillon isn't a little kid anymore. And now that I'm feeling better, that's really sinking in.

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