The Common Cold Is No Match For A Mother’s Love

Health

Was that him? Surely not, I must be imagining it. It’s only been 15 minutes since he drifted off. Then I hear, “Mama”. That’s definitive. Shoot. I hop off the couch, iPhone in one hand, tea in the other and I go to my sleepy toddler.

In his dreamy state he gives me a “big hug” and climbs on top of me, seeking comfort as he awaits the return of sleep. He tries to nurse, taking a break every few seconds to catch his breath through unrelenting sniffles. He needs his nap today.

It’s day three of our struggle with the common cold. I feel like the walking wounded, mired in battle against runny noses and feverish bodies. We’re both still in our pyjamas, a matching pair of weathered souls. I haven’t showered since Monday…what’s today? I’ve lost track.

As I lay in the fading afternoon light my son nuzzles into me with a familiarity I feel broken open by, nourished by his love as his little body quietly surrenders to sleep.

He’s reminding me he’s still my baby. That he still needs me in spite of his growing independence.

It’s an incredible feeling; being needed as a mother. It helps me appreciate my own mother. Even though I’m an adult now, her maternal instincts haven’t waned, driving her to tend to my needs as much as my independence allows. My intense self-reliance often means I resist, but I understand now. She’s grasping onto that fleeting precious feeling. Maybe next time I won’t be so quick to dismiss her concern. I wish she were here to care for me now, instead of on the other side of the world.

Here alone in our bedroom-come-sickbay I’m mesmerized by my son’s innocence. Gifted by this rare period of stillness I lay here and study his every detail. His heartbreakingly long eyelashes. His adorable button nose. I gently trace my fingers around his baby-smooth cheeks. With his forehead resting on my belly button I’m here for the long haul.

I settle in and reflect on how such a short time ago we were one, physically connected in the very spot he’s now lying.

Although the umbilical cord may have been cut I’m in awe of the emotional bond we’ve created, far stronger than any physical tie. He’s my best friend. My tiny soul mate. My teacher. He gifts me with the greatest lessons of my life as I witness the conviction of his intuition and awareness. He pushes me to be a better parent. To seek the best version of myself.

In this moment I only want to be there for him. To serve as his pillow and stroke away the damp hair that falls on his face. It floods my heart with joy to watch him take comfort from my presence. He coughs and fleetingly rouses, then nestles back down curling into my shoulder, soft and submissive in this atmosphere of safety. I feel the forward march of pins and needles prickle their way up my arm, but I dare not stir.

For now, I’ll take the discomfort in exchange for the chance to be his sole source of comfort. I know my chances are numbered.

Outside the rain continues to hammer down. I feel like we’re hibernating bears waiting for the storm to pass. This illness is testing and strengthening us physically, but in turn it has deepened our emotional bond.

It’s a long three-hour nap. I can’t help but think of all the things I could have done in that time. Time seems so scarce these days and I find myself scrambling for every spare second. So, I relish this enforced relaxation. My cold may have disabled me, but it was my son who physically pinned me down and forced me to STOP. To slow down. His love is the best medicine; his boundless joy restores my depleted energy. Every detail is a lesson in healing.

And HIS only demand: a “big hug”, which comforts and nourishes us both.

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COMMENTS
  • December 25, 2016
    Jim

    Beautifully written Tracy and I wholeheartedly agree. My daughter Lucy is approaching 2 and while I knew I would love her like nothing else, nothing quite prepared me for how much. Her innocent beauty beguiles me, her happiness is contagious and she somehow manages to impress me each day as she develops and transforms. When she shuffles up to me with a “daddy” and holds her arms out to be picked up, then gives me the biggest cuddle when I do, the privilege of being her Daddy makes me feel richer then any amount of money ever could. To be needed in this way is more life-affirming than I ever could have guessed. I’m glad to have found your blog and have read numerous articles now. Thank you!

    • January 05, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Thank you so much Jim – so kind of you to take the time to let me know you enjoyed it 🙂 You are so right – nothing can prepare us for the depth of the love we have for our kids, its such an amazing gift. Lucy sounds like a wonderful little girl and she’s lucky to have a Dad who is clearly so in love with her…I’m the same for my little guy. Lovely to connect and thanks again – be in touch 🙂

  • January 02, 2017

    I love this! Thanks for the recco to read it from Instagram. It’s been a happy holiday but wasn’t the restful one I imagined with my Little sick for 10 days. All of my hopes to get sleep and get healthy myself were dashed by harder than normal nights. But as you said – he is the brightest Star of my Life and comforting him as meant and taught me so much. Thank you for your work. You help me so! 🙏🏻💙

    • January 05, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      No worries Corinne and so happy you read it. Hope your son is well again really soon and he’s a lucky boy to have a mama to care for him while he needs it most. Wishing you all the best for a wonderful year ahead and lovely to connect xx

  • January 04, 2017

    So beautiful and so true. Thank you.

    • January 05, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      My pleasure – thanks so much for reading Larissa xx

  • January 04, 2017
    Ferrol

    Thank you so much for writing this and touching my heart. I love your blog and it brings love and solace to my world.

    • January 05, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      My pleasure Ferrol and thank you so much for letting me know – really appreciate it xx

  • January 05, 2017

    Wow! You encapsulated one of the best parts of being a parent. It never ceases to amaze me how we need to still be wanted and when they are so little that want is an element that soon fades out as they grow up. I have the privellage of both at the moment. My 16 year old doesn’t want it and independence is her only agenda and my 5 year old, the kindest softest soul still wants and needs it. I hang on as tight and as long as I can. Time can wait, this time. Thank you for your piece, reminded me I must be patient, the time will come when they will need us again….

  • January 06, 2017
    Heather

    You are such a beautiful writer Tracy. Thank you for sharing. So many powerful quotes that really touched all the feels. xx

    • January 07, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Aw thank you Heather – so kind of you to say! And so happy it resonated with you. xx

  • January 13, 2017
    Emily

    Aww this is such a cute and sweet article! 🙂 Hope you are feeling better!

    • January 14, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Thanks so much Emily! We’re much better 🙂

    • January 14, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      Thanks so much Emily! We’re feeling much better 🙂

  • January 16, 2017
    Kathryn

    Thank you for this. I sit with my toddlers every night until they go to sleep. I sometimes begrudge this time, but I have come to appreciate the simple pleasures of rubbing tummies or backs or holding little hands just a bit longer. I won’t be doing this forever. I know I’ll miss it. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your three hours!

    • January 16, 2017
      Tracy Gillett

      My pleasure Kathryn and you’re so right…this season of our lives is going to pass so quickly. Enjoy holding those little hands of yours 🙂 So happy you enjoyed the post and thank you for letting me know.

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