After what feels like months of filling every moment of every day, so that even the very end of day before bedtime is crammed with piles of laundry, and brushing my teeth and getting my pajamas on feels like one more chore, today it feels much stiller. Arlo is sick, and wants me to hold him. Which I have done since 6:00 this morning when he woke up, after a long night of me sleeping next to his feverish hot potato body.
He has largely slept, in that lethargic, eye rolling way, waking to cry for a minute, before he slumps back into a hot sleep again. And so I have typed some work, watched a mini-marathon of t.v. shows on my computer, did a few conference calls. And here I am writing for pleasure, as he sleeps on in my arms. But it has been one thing at a time, often one-handed one thing at a time, but this rather than three or more things at a time, when I would normally make lunch for myself, for Arlo, wash the breakfast dishes, sweep and mop the floor, pay our bills, and answer the phone, while work whistled to me from my office. None of that today though, just one at a time, with a big baby on me, heating my lap right through his clothes and the blanket he is wrapped up in.
Recently I was saying to my husband that I am afraid at times that Arlo doesn't like me very much. A more accurate statement at the time probably would have been that I don't like me very much, and that parenting at this juncture feels especially hard, which is how Matthew responded. Hard and busy, not my favorite combination because the time for reflection, for regrouping, is usually between the time Arlo falls asleep for a nap and when I walk to my computer to work. A matter of seconds, if any time at all. Put one thing down and pick up another. Put one down, and pick one up. Put down, pick up. Round and round I often go like a whirling dervish, except with a lot less grace than the actual dervishes, if you've ever seen them.
But today, Arlo is very close to me. On me. Needing me. Every time he opens his eyes he needs me to say that he's going to be alright. He asks, every time, with his tired, sick eyes, with his little hands clutching me. With his cry. And so today Mommy lets a lot of the other voices fall away, and I hold Arlo and pick away at this and that, one thing at a time. The cacophony stills. It is so rare for a day to be one-note right now, and being with a sick child (who is not too sick) is a strange kind of quiet. It is a worried quiet, a sad quiet, and also a restful one.