The hard part of being a parent

I can still remember nearly every detail about the room where I spent my first night in the hospital when we discovered that g’s twin had died. The tension of my back muscles as they struggled to hold the weight of my big belly. The sterile smell of well-scrubbed floors and hand sanitizer. The multi-color glow of all those machines in the darkness.  I spent hours fixating on the baby monitor that measured g’s heart rate, using every last bit of my energy to will it to keep going. And so last night as I watched my beautiful 5 year old sleep in his blue hospital gown, my eyes once again fixating on the numbers on that screen, I could hardly deny that it all felt terrifyingly familiar.  This time I found that I could almost celebrate the moments when he woke, screaming in pain, using his very five-year-old words to relate to it all.  The bad guys are hurting me.

I took him in too late.  He had been complaining about stomach pain for several days and I stupidly assumed that he had fallen victim to the stomach virus that has been circulating.  When I finally understood, appendix, it was late in the game and he had already sustained a rupture.  They operated pretty quickly and the doctors assured me that he was going to be all right. But he’s struggling and I’m scared.

When g was a few months old, I remember my younger brother teasing me about the difficulties of parenting.  Oh man, you’ve got to change all those diapers and you never sleep.  I laughed. If only.  It’s only when you actually become a parent that you understand what the true hard part is. And some of us, the particularly unlucky, are given an even deeper insight.  But honestly, I didn’t need a reminder.

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6 thoughts on “The hard part of being a parent

  1. becomingbuddhist

    This is beautiful, scary, and sad. I have been assuming that this experience has absolutely triggered g’s birth/your story from before. Of course it’s all muscle memory, familiarity, scary, trauma. Sending you love and light for the lucky parts of your life.

  2. Ben

    The stakes get so high so fast that it takes my breath away. I can hear your strength and power in the words you write, and those are just some of the things we gain by being parents, by becoming more, and by anteing up. But oh, so so scary.

  3. I already know he’s okay, which makes me less terrified, but…it’s still horrible to contemplate. I’m so, so sorry. Sorry for those first days, sorry for these days. How are we supposed to know when it’s serious? How are we supposed to keep them safe? And you know, safe is really just a euphemism for ALIVE. Oh, it’s SO HARD.

  4. Pingback: Ok February, let’s work this out.

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