In the Talmud it says that you don’t truly know a man until you’ve seen him bikosso, keeso, and kaaso – translated to with his cup (drinking), pocket (money), and anger. I’m not terribly stingy and don’t indulge much in drinking, but sure, I get mad. I hate to think that’s the inner, true me. There’s got to be another scale of our humanity.
This weekend, I thought of a fourth category that might portray man’s (or woman’s) true colors.
Taking care of a vomiting child.
A very vomiting child. Think once every thirty minutes, and rarely landing somewhere appropriate like the apportioned bucket. More like on the floor, every sheet and blanket in the house, every pair of pajamas, and naturally of course, on one’s mother.
And yes, that would be me.
But I was so proud of myself. My heart grew full with love for this temporarily pathetic child, burning with fever, coughing up bile, evoking feelings of tenderness I rarely feel when my children are awake.
I mopped it up, changed his clothes, changed myself, and then did it all again 15 minutes later. All with a smile.
Oh, the joys of motherhood. Of kissing a warm temple and reading books as the sweet little angel drifts into oblivion.
I didn’t even break in the middle of the night when I had to keep tending, keep mopping, keep changing sheets, keep ignoring my beckoning pillow. Keep fulfilling requests for ginger ale with ice, no without ice, cold water, warm water, in between water, a drink in a sippy cup, no a regular cup, no a sports bottle.
Oh, how perfect I am I thought.
And then he started to get better.
The fever dissipated, the vomiting stopped. But the ridiculous requests prevailed.
He wanted this, no that, no this. He whined. He cried. He demanded.
And he kept me up all night. Again.
Gone was the patience. Gone the loving, perfect mother.
Just the snappy, tired one. No, you cannot have a third drink when there are two on the night table. Yes, you have to stop talking to me so I can drift back to sleep. No, you cannot run crying into your bedroom at 3 am and wake your sleeping brother. Get back into line, young man.
I think taking care of a sick kid is easy. The pity makes us strong.
It’s caring for one that’s getting better that’s the challenge. And I think I failed.