Monday, July 11, 2011

The Overnight Fever, One of the Parenting Adventures that Make You Miss Having a Partner

Why do fevers prefer to strike at 2:00 in the morning? I mean you can't take the child to school or daycare or wherever they go after they've had one. You're up all night, and get to spend the next day chasing your now recovered child. My daughter had these fevers every so often, usually when a new tooth was coming or if she had a little cold. Last night my son had one. He's had a runny nose since last week and started coughing yesterday. At 18 months old, he doesn't take much medication, so I medicated the fever only. Then we prayed and he sang praises to God, raising his little hand and waving it around, saying "ha-oo-ah". That's baby talk for halleleujah. He has some breathing medications, but he wasn't having any trouble breathing, at least not until later. I pretty much knew that he'd be back to his old self soon and back to running around the house. In other words, he'd be fine. I'd see him through it.

Then there's me. I miss having someone to lean on in situations like that. I miss having a partner in parenting. I miss having someone to love them with me and having someone I love with whom to watch them interact. Some of the cutest things they do happen right here in the house, and I'm the only one here. I wouldn't have my husband back like he was. He was so very sick. But it's hard sometimes. My hopes when it comes to my children, my fears when it comes to them, my angst, no one to really share that with now, not anyone I can lean on and say, "can we do this?". Right now I'm making plans for our future and I can really feel it.

My children have amazing Godparents and their Godfather especially has really stepped up to be a big part of my son's life. My son loves him but when I see Elijah run to him I can't help but think of Thomas. I'm very grateful that my son will have someone to do guy stuff with, and a man to teach him about being a man whether I remarry or not. I know some people don't have that, but when they do things, I'll really miss that special look of pride in their dad's eyes.

But I'm noticing that just as much or even more than the sadness over Thomas not seeing them as they grow and not having the opportunity of watching them grow through his eyes, is that as much as I thank God everyday for the people who love them, there's a noticable absence. When Ariana had these overnight fevers, Thomas sat in his room and prayed. That was his part, well that and convincing me she should get to sleep with me instead of in her room. I could say I feel his presence. I could say I'm sure he's helping me through these things and other challenges and he may be. There are times I can feel him. There are also times when I feel his absence.

I think though he prayed enough to last us a while. During his final year, that is pretty much all he did at home. I know a few of those prayers were not answered until after his passing. So I may not see him an image of him in the corner of the room like I did during Elijah's first trip to the emergency room and I may not hear him praying in my head like I did the last time Ariana got a stomach bug, but I know he's still here somehow. But I won't lie. Dragging the well child to the emergency room along with the ill one, packing the ill one in the van when the well one has to go to school, pulling myself through the day with two children bouncing off the walls after pulling the night shift with an ill child...not my idea of a good time.

I ask myself sometimes who is going to love me through the challenges I love them through. But despite the loneliness I have never felt hopeless and the answer to that question comes if I look for it. On one trip to the emergency room, I looked across at a couple holding their baby who was in the ER due to vomiting. At one point, out of frustration, the mom laid her head on the dad's shoulder. She was obviously exhausted. He stroked their son's hair with one hand and her hair with his other hand. I shook my head for a moment. Then I looked at Elijah and he smiled at me. Despite not feeling well he was happy. Their baby had not smiled at all since they'd gotten there. I laid my head back on the back of the bench and asked God to heal their baby and all the other children in the hospital.

So I'm working on seeing God as my partner, on relying on Him more, not just for provision, healing, protection, wisdom and guidance, but as a partner in life, as someone I can lean on when I'm exhausted. There's no shortage of lessons on this journey. There's always something to work on and I'm still learning. I have concluded the learning never stops.

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