The Baby has been sick the past three days. Her stomach is disordered and her poor bum- well, you can imagine. She has slowed down ever so slightly- not so eager to practice her new climbing skills. And, although I would never wish an illness on any of my children, I do enjoy this temporary quiet of The Baby’s body. She is receptive to being caressed and carried, her soft downy head willingly nestles between my chin and my heart, she awakens in the wee hours of the morning just to connect with Mama for comfort and reassurance. Even though her whimpers startle me out of a sound sleep, I do not resent the dark hours, rocking her in her chair and hearing her softly breathe and hum. With that said, I am exhausted. We are coming on four days of around the clock care and my reserves are running low. The other children are patient and compassionate for their littlest sister, and they know in their hearts that we each take our turns with illness and neediness. But, I worry that I have not given each them enough attention over the past few days.
Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I was placing my earrings in their pottery container on an old table we recently brought up from the living room. My eye caught the outline of a red chenille pipe cleaner heart sweetly placed beside the pottery. Just the day before, I was folding laundry in the bedroom and had to untangle a crumpled up red chenille pipe cleaner from a toe hole in one of First Born Son’s dingy, threadbare socks. I threw it on the table intending to use it to lecture the kids about emptying their pockets before haplessly stuffing their clothing down the laundry chute. And, here it was metamorphosed into a token of love. If I were to guess, I would say it was the handiwork of Princess Commando. She has been known to take a stack of pennies from a bedside table and transform them into the outline of a bird or some other whimsical creature for us to find as we reach over to turn out the light. Or, there are other times when I find her Cheerios arranged on the dining room table to spell out, "I LOVE YOU" (with a heart replacing the word love). It is a gesture that I appreciate beyond words. A love note to remind me that while I am caring for others, there is someone thinking of me- caring for me.
A note: I have not had the creative power to illustrate over the past few days. The illustrations above are from a picture book that I created for Princess Commando. You may view it here: