TODDLER

Does Joy Really Come in the Morning? A Tale of 4 Kids with the Stomach Flu by Lindsay Gerber

Written by Lindsay Gerber

It was 10 p.m. I had gone to bed that night feeling peaceful. I made sure my kitchen was clean so that when I woke up the next morning I felt no pressure to do anything. I had gotten caught up on laundry, which was almost never the case. Everyone had new sheets on their beds. I was going to wake up to my coffee pot brewing my favorite coffee. I was going to open the curtains and there would be sun coming into my house shining the perfect amount of light. My kids would most definitely sleep in, and surely I would wake up before them to get the alone time I had desired. I laid there planning breakfast in my head but then I fell asleep…

All of the sudden, I heard that familiar sound. My heart was pounding as it awoke me in the middle of my slumber. It was the sound I hated to hear, and I don’t hate much. It was the cry that I knew produced something awful. I sat up, jumped out of bed, and ran to my child’s room. I smelled it the second I opened the door. It was vomit. The smell was completely identifiable and made me want to just turn around, go downstairs, and head out the front door for dodge. Instead of heading for dodge, I turned on the lights and got my kid out of bed. I will spare you most of the disgusting details, but I won’t spare you the amount of angst I felt for my husband that night. Who am I kidding? I won’t spare you the details of the angst I felt for my husband every time one of our kids throws up. I love my husband dearly, but one thing I don’t love is that vomit makes him vomit. When that happens, this mama is in for a real treat.

If you have more than one child, then you know this to be true. Once one gets sick, we all get sick. It’s the domino effect. This particular night, the cries kept coming. Each time it was the same cry for help and the same awful smell. My husband had no choice but to help clean up and shower off half of our crew. Did I tell you we have 4 kids? I vividly remember taking care of my half and then running to the bathroom to help my husband. I found him there hovered over the toilet and gagging. I tried to hold it together, but I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes and said, “Go back to bed! I’ll do this!” It wasn’t worth it to me to have 5 kids throwing up at this point. Did I say 5 kids? I swallowed my pride, greased my elbows, and took care of business. It was a blur like much of parenting is.

I spared you many details, but I won’t spare you the feeling I had the next day.  I was a train wreck. I didn’t get to the coffee until about noon. I didn’t open the blinds once that day. I was honestly most angry about the clean sheets getting destroyed. I’m pretty sure I actually threw a couple sets in the trash. I’ve done it with underwear too. Don’t judge me. However, I managed to be thankful for my husband just because he tried. He really did. The kitchen was still clean. The smell of coffee masked the smell of vomit, which I considered the biggest win of all. I celebrated those small wins and still managed to throw myself a pity party the next day. It was much needed.

To all you hardworking parents out there trying to do your best – press on. Have you ever heard the words “Joy comes in the morning?” Well, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t always, but it will soon enough. Keep greasing your elbows. Keep brewing your coffee. Keep setting yourself up for success. Keep your grace bucket full, because you never know when you or your husband might need it.

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