Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Vomit Diaries

A few nights ago I woke to a child calling my name.  It was 3:30 in the morning.  And I knew.  Right then.  I knew.

So I dragged myself out of bed and I stumbled to the child's room.  I looked at all of my precautions.  The towel, the bucket, both thrown to the side.  Clean and empty.

And I looked at the child.  Sitting to the side of his bed.  And I looked at his big, scared eyes.  And I looked beside him.  At it.

And a warm smile spread across my face.  I went to him and wrapped him in my arms.  I told him everything was okay.  I rubbed his back and laughed and made a good joke out of it.

Okay, not really.

What I really did was this.  I stared at it for about 30 seconds too long, while the child looked on nervously, and then repeated, like, 15 times, "What happened to the towel?!  What happened to the bucket?!"

I was prepared for this.  There were signs, earlier in the night, so I was ready.  I made sure to minimize the clean up.  I long ago resigned myself to the fact that my children will never, ever make it to the bathroom in time.  Or even out of their bed.  So I've adapted.  I had a plan.  I had a freaking plan, and yet there it was.  Right smack in the middle of the bed.

After I composed myself a bit I set off to business.  I cleaned and I washed and I laundered.  I walked from my warm home and into the cold night, disposing of the final remnants.  I changed the sheets and the boy and I only said "This is so gross" like five times.  So I feel like I did a pretty good job.

The boy was scared when he laid back down, so I sat beside him and rubbed his little arm.  My stomach was queasy from exhaustion and emotional trauma, but I sat there with him anyhow.  On the hard floor beside his bed.

I'll tell you what.  I don't ever, ever feel like more of a mom than I do when my children throw up.  It's hard to explain.  But maybe, if you're a mom, you understand.

Because there's also nothing I hate more.  Literally, I would rather do ANYTHING than clean up the contents of another human's stomach.  Even if the other human is my own child.

But I do it.  Of course.  A. Because not doing it would be even more disgusting, but B. Because I love them so incredibly much.

And I hate it, truly, but I also love showing my love for them in this way.  Deep (deep) down I love doing the lowest, grossest thing for these children when every ounce of my being wants to curl up in my warm bed and sleep the night away (or conveniently "not hear anything" like someone else I may know).

I think, somehow, it describes my love for them better than any words could.

I don't know what it is about puking children that makes me think about Jesus.  But it does.  Like, every time.

Maybe it's that Jesus took on the lowest, grossest jobs when he lived on earth.  Like cleaning people's nasty feet and touching lepers (which you know was gross because NO ONE else would do it).  Maybe it's that I feel rather sure that, at some point, Jesus cleaned up someone's puke.  If not multiple people's puke.  And that he most definitely did it without complaining about how disgusting it was.

Some nights Joel and I just stare at our slumbering children and go on about how much we love them.  We relive the sweet and funny moments from the day and we convince ourselves we're the luckiest people on earth.

But that's the easy stuff.  I mean, the kids are freaking sleeping.  Of course we love them.

But when you're called to clean up vomit at 3:30 in the morning and when you've finally cleaned it all and you just want to go back to bed or to get a reward of some sort, but instead you sit beside your child and comfort THEM back to sleep.  That's the stuff of true love.

And I guess I think about Jesus because he said a lot of words, but it wasn't any of those words that convinced me of His love.  It was what He did.  It was His dying, and doing the very lowest thing.  For me.  For love.

I don't suppose this will be the last time I clean up puke, or other disgusting bodily functions.  I don't imagine it's the last time I'll be called to show love in gross or painful ways.

But I'll continue to do it.  Because I love them so much.  Because I'm so very fond of them.  Because even though they make my life so hard sometimes, they also make it worthwhile.

And I'll imagine that Jesus feels much the same about me.

1 comment:

  1. That moment you describe really resonates with me- sitting in an uncomfortable position- wanting so badly to go back to your own bed- but in that moment- also knowing what it means to love. It's uncomfortable, even grueling sometimes- but reaches some depth in my heart that was never touched until I was a mother...