Thursday, October 04, 2012

Mothering The Sick Child

(Recycling this post for the Marian Monday link-up at

Yaaaawwn. Stretch. Yaaawn.  Oh pardon me, I didn’t know we were already live online.  I’ve just spent another sleepless night with a sick child and can’t seem to find my head, nor my manners.   So, you’ll have to excuse whatever (unwarranted) doozies might fly out of my sleep deprivation.
            I’m sure all you parents out there can relate to waking up in the middle of the night and feeling a hot forehead or smelling a stomach flu and then worrying about it being something serious or contagious, wishing it was contagious rather than serious, then wishing it would bypass the other kids, praying to God, bargaining to take on the disease yourself instead of having more sick kids, taking it back because who would take care of the household if mama was down with the flu… and then waking up and going to the doctor’s office with two different shoes on.  You know, the parenting nightmare that’s not actually a nightmare.
            Whenever I have one of those days, I think about my mom.  Since we didn’t have health insurance (it’s not common in the Philippines and my grandfather was a doctor who did home visits thankfully), she used to say her insurance was invested in the kneeling she did every day pilgrimage-style across the aisle of the Basilica of the Child Jesus (Sto. Nino) to pray for good health.  (I’d vouch for the success of her insurance company.)  But on the occasions that we did get sick, she would give us the cure all.  (No, not castor oil or Echinacea.)  She would let us sip from the water of Lourdes, of which she seemed to have an endless supply.  (Still does, by the way.)  She’d also bend over to kiss us and give us a sacramental or two to kiss.  Often, it was a third class relic of the Child Jesus or the miraculous medal.  
The Basilica of Sto. Nino (my mother's insurance company)
            There was something so tender and sacred about the way she treated our ills with her childlike faith.  I find myself trying to emulate that.  To trust that my children are God’s children in His loving hands and that He could protect them and heal them if He really wanted to.  But waiting for God to heal them of pain and discomfort, it isn’t easy.  Not knowing what exactly is wrong is nerve-wracking.  Listening to doctors say “she’ll outgrow it eventually” is frustrating.  And hearing there is no known cure for severe nut allergies, it’s pretty rough. 
The Mother who appeared to St. Catherine Laboure and gave us the miraculous medal.
 So I think of my other mom, too, My Heavenly Mother when my kids are sick.  I picture St. Catherine Laboure laying her head on Our Lady’s lap and pretend my pillow is the Blessed Mother’s lap. I imagine the sorrow that pierced her heart in Calvary, unite my agony to hers and beg her to stay up with me while I go through bead after bead of her rosary. I remind myself and her that she is the Queen and Mother of our home and repeat my plea to “pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.”
            In the midst of the third decade, I find myself more at peace than when I first began, like I’d been held in the arms of mystical love.  Pretty soon, by the fourth decade, my eyes become heavy, as if someone was caressing away my burdens.  I’m guessing (but can’t be too sure though) that by the fifth, I’m sawing logs.  
When I wake up, the kid feels better, almost like last night never happened, and after a bumpy start, I actually have the grace to blog coherently about the most peaceful night of sharing my cross with Our Lady.   Like someone just rocked me to sleep and sang me a lullaby.
           If you'll excuse me again, I'm going to pick up where the Blessed Mother and I left off...this time, in thanksgiving.

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Gina said...

Oh my goodness, your mother is adorable. <3!

When I was little, my mother had cancer and I used to sneak Lourdes water into her tea because she refused to drink it herself. Ha ha!

Bless her for instilling in you such trust for the goodness of God.

8 kids and a business said...

Lovely post, Annabelle, and a very prayerful way of accepting a child's illness. I had to laugh at your mention of castor oil and Lourdes holy water. Are we related?

Anabelle Hazard said...

Terry, I'm sure we can trace our ancestry to the same tribe somewhere.

Gina, sneaking Lourdes water!!! I'm writing my third novel with a character who does that so I have to know what happened to your mom? You should blog about it.

Gina said...

Ha - that'd be rather entertaining since my Mom occasionally drops by my blog and still has no idea that I've done that.

Considering she didn't die of the cholera she was sure she'd get, I don't think she'd be too upset with me. But you never know... LoL.

-Kinsi- said...

Thank you, thaaaank you for participating! I'm thrilled to see where this link-up goes. There's a certain therapeutic effect of those faithful practices that other types of medicine can't hold a candle to, yes? Very sweet :-)