Both of my little men got the stomach flu last week--thankfully not at the same time, but in sequentia (that's probably not a word, but I like the way it sounds). Either because I dealt with most of their bodily emanations or because my immune system is nil due to my chronic sleep-deprived status, or maybe for both reasons, I came down with said flu over the weekend. Only problem was that I had to take 5 Brownies to a sleepover at a local venue on Saturday night. Yep. Hundreds of Girl Scouts and me--Pukey Mama. I could feel it coming on all day Saturday and tried to will it away. My sweet girl had a basketball party and I guilted Papa Bear into going, even though attending such an event alone is akin to having bamboo spears thrust under his fingernails, because I knew I couldn't make it to the party and the sleepover that night without a major system malfunction occurring.
When it was time to go, I said to Papa Bear, "I can do this, right?" and he said, "Yes, you can." I had offers from him and another mom to trade places if I needed it during the night, and the other mom going with me said she could take over if necessary. So, thank goodness for my village--I had a backup plan. But, I'm the Troop Leader who Must Lead, so I couldn't even think about backing out unless it was in an ambulance. Since the stomach flu hadn't hit Defcon 5 yet, I knew I had to try. And, because I know the anticipation is killing you, I'll go ahead and tell you that I made it through the night. Not without some bodily emanations of my own, mind you, but I made it. At least until I got home the next day--which was, blessedly, Sunday. A day of rest, and since Papa Bear was home with the kids, it actually was. He let me go to bed. And stay there. All day. Good man.
When I've faced situations like this before, I've often thought to myself, "How am I going to do this?" and felt very anxious--even afraid--of what might happen or what might go wrong. Strangely, I didn't feel that this time. I felt some dread over the uncertainty of just how sick I'd be or how soon the full force of the virus would strike, but I knew I would just have to figure it out. There were a couple of reasons why I think this situation was different. First, I am the Troop Leader who Must Lead, and I felt like I just had to suck it up and go, no matter what. But also, after having three kids, you've found yourself in more unexpected, nightmarish situations than many people, and you just have to...wait for it...figure. it. out.
As a person who's not used to flying by the seat of her pants in any way, shape, or form, these experiences as a mom have rocked my world but opened it up at the same time. I've learned that I can handle a lot more than I thought, and I can do it without sleep and sick as a dog if I have to. It ain't always fun, but I know I'm stronger for it, and I've become willing to try things I wouldn't have before. I don't feel that fear in the pit of my stomach so often anymore, because I know I've learned some coping skills that will get me through at least the minor mishaps that come my way. So when you feel like you're in the trenches as a mom, take heart--that which does not kill us really does make us stronger. And if you're lucky enough to have a sick day on the weekend, then you're lucky enough--at least I was. Stay well!