On Friday night I heard the sound of a barking cough and a hoarse voice saying “mama” coming from my daughter’s room. It was 2am, and Sylvie had gone to bed the previous evening with no signs of illness. Yet, here we were.
Hmm…barking cough. My nurse side (which was my occupation prior to having Sylvie) said croup, and I began the usual home remedies. She seemed to be about the same on Saturday morning, but a great deal more whiney. (Who could blame her?) By 4pm that evening the croup had progressed to wheezing on inhalation (stridor) and drooling (a sign or airway swelling affecting swallowing). I was scared. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW? We went to Urgent Care.
Three and a half hours later after a dose of steroids, a breathing treatment, and being given a new teddy bear, we were on our way home. Sylvie was quiet and tired, and I was shell-shocked.
It wasn’t the trip to the Urgent Care that left me panicked, although that was no picnic; it was the realization that this is only the beginning of scary sh*t to come. I had just earned my “Urgent Care Trip Parenting Badge,” but I had a whole sash awaiting my future experiences. (Don’t you think we need parenting badges? Maybe I miss Girl Scouts too much.) Those possible experiences loomed over me: leaving my daughter overnight, first day of preschool, pediatric surgery, first fight with a friend, first boyfriend, first breakup, riding her bike alone, driving school, driving (!!), leaving for college (or not)…you get the picture. (Kind of makes you respect your parents a bit, doesn’t it?)
I had to reign in my fears and realize that, just like in all areas of life, living in the present is a much more manageable place. (Ok, honestly, I’d like to say I went all Zen and got it together, but really I just pushed it all to the back of my mind and went all blissful denial on it.)
I’ll tell you one thing though; motherhood takes some cajones.