The gift of a week with a sick teenage daughter

I’m sitting here on the couch with my computer. It’s rainy outside. One dog is sleeping on one couch, the other beside me. Millie the queen kitten is perched on the top of her condo, also curled into sleep, and the fire is breathing hot orange flames inside the pellet stove. I’ve already been into town to restock the meager shelves in the fridge and pantry, and there’s a long list of to-dos that has accumulated over the past seven days. Seven days that I have spent with my sick teenage daughter.

Zelda on her couch

The house is quiet and still. Too quiet and still. My daughter is back at school and I miss her. I miss getting up five minutes after I’ve sat down in an attempt to get some of my personal work done to retrieve the tissue box. I miss boiling water for tea, heating up soup, microwaving the lavender scented neck pillow, fetching the kitten, wrapping my daughter in blankets, giving her reiki, hugging her fevered body in my arms, reading to her, playing cards with her, binge watch Grey’s Anatomy with her, fetching her pills, boiling more water for tea, and trying my best to talk my daughter’s sleep deprived mind through her fears.

My sick daughter with Millie the kitten

Although seeing your child suffer through an illness pretty much sucks, I don’t want to trade the past week back. Okay, maybe I’d trade in my daughter’s suffering, but that’s it. Why? because I am fully aware of how blessedly lucky I am to have had seven full days (and nights 😉 with my teenage daughter. A rare gift indeed.

Rosy the dog on the couch beside me

In these past seven days I was reminded of how wonderful it is to be a mother, and my daughter’s mother specifically, in all its challenges and blessings. I was reminded that my daughter is not really mine to hold onto forever. That one day in the not too distant future, she will follow her own life path beyond the front door we currently share. And, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to be a mother who can rather seamlessly set aside her work to tend to her child. I know many parents are not so lucky. My own memories of being home sick from school include lying on a couch in a neighbor’s home at a much younger age than my daughter’s, wishing my own mother could be with me.

Queen Millie

This past month I have allowed myself to be pulled into the moment of being a caregiver. First, to vigilantly watch over young Millie who is now fearlessly ruling the house. Both of the dogs, the cat, and her four humans are now fully under her command. This past week,  to tend to my sick daughter. In these many days, I have felt the raw, beautiful essence of life more times than I have counted. Real life. Without the distraction of  striving and wanting. Of worrying or pining for a future that may never come. Or being pulled back into a time that will never return. The only distraction allowed was what was right in front of me. The present of each moment. Even though the outer wrapping changed, what was inside never did. I am your gift of the present. Live with me fully. I am all you get and nothing more. But, I am always just enough. I am always, just what you need. Unwrap me and live fully with me. The gift inside is always the same.

7 thoughts on “The gift of a week with a sick teenage daughter

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