Under My Umbrella

When it rains, it pours.

Just as we were starting to settle into life as a family of six, life took an unexpected left turn.  Last Thursday Evie woke up with pain in her leg.  While I didn’t doubt her discomfort, I thought it was a growing pain (and a desire for a little extra attention), so I let her stay home from school for the morning. But, by lunchtime when I planned to bring her to school, she had developed a fever and was lethargic.  By 6 pm, she could not walk.

Chris rushed her to the doctor, where she was diagnosed with a simple virus that would clear on its own.  By Friday night, her symptoms worsened.  First thing Saturday morning, we checked her in to the hospital.

I was at a loss and totally overwhelmed.  Chris was with my first born at the hospital as she endured too many tests on her growing body.  It was Vivian’s birthday, and Mack’s was just two days away.  And I had 2 week old baby to care for.  I literally wanted to be in four places at one time.

And so I quickly learned that when the rain pours and the thunder roars, I have no choice but to be the umbrella.  As her mother, of course I wanted to be with Evie at the hospital, but I also had to nurse my newborn and make my newly 2 year old feel special on her day.  I needed to keep everyone dry and warm even though I was getting soaked.

And so with Evie safe in Chris’ care at the hospital, I focused my attention on the three littles at home. I took Vivian out for a special birthday lunch of chocolate chip pancakes and chocolate milk. She was so well behaved – just like a little lady!

The next day, with Vivian and Mack safe and warm with my parents, I delivered  breakfast from Walker Brothers to Chris and Evie, because hospital food is just not good.

I spent half of Saturday and all day Sunday at the hospital, but Chris bore the brunt of the hospital stay.  Fortunately, little Ben tagged along with me so he could spend some time with his dad. I am so grateful Chris is such a good man!  He is my umbrella.

After a day at the hospital, I still wanted to let Vivian and Mack know how special their birthdays are, so I raced over to my parents’ house where my sisters had gathered for a little celebration. I made it there just in time to clap for Vivian and Mack as they blew out the candles on their cakes!

Mack and I enjoyed a fancy birthday lunch on Monday (he is 4 now!!!).  Even though Chris couldn’t make it because he was still with Evie, Mack knew it was his special day.

When my Aunt Margie sent me a text the other night encouraging me to allow myself a good cry, I had to smile: she totally read my mind! I am totally exhausted, but I know the things I did to protect my family from the storm swirling around us were not special or extraordinary.  Every day, all moms have to be the umbrellas for their families.  It is what we do.

I feel so grateful for those who offered me shelter from this storm:

My parents, who, without a moment’s hesitation, took Vivian and Mack for the weekend.

My friend Sarah, who dropped off a delicious homemade dinner the day we returned from the hospital, even though she just dropped off a meal a few weeks ago when Ben was born.

My friend Laura, who from 300 miles away still made herself available for a late night chat as I drove home from the hospital.

My grandparents, who spent yesterday with Evie and Mack.  As a former nurse (and mother of 7), I know my grandma could keep a close eye on Evie.

Our babysitter Nataliya, who loves and cares for my kids. She brought birthday presents for Vivian, relieving me of some of the guilt I felt for not making her day as special as she deserved.

Evie came home from the hospital the other day without a clear diagnosis of her condition.  Right now, it appears to be a crazy reaction to a viral infection (good news compared to what the doctors’ initial thoughts were).  Hopefully, the many appointments we have coming up will shed some light.  In the meantime I will be her umbrella, keeping her safe from the storm.

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5 Comments for this entry

  1. Great Grandma Smithe says:

    Papa and I continue to hold Evie close to our hearts and in our prayers as she is healing and growing stronger every day.. I am grateful for your trust and these sweet reflections.

  2. Adele says:

    Oh Maureen, I am so sorry to hear about all of this. What a trying time for y’all. Prayers and hugs.

  3. Michelle says:

    There is nothing as terrible as when one of your babies is sick. I hope and know that she will continue to recover and that you will be able to get back to normalcy. Mamas really are what holds a family together, and you did a marvelous job showing everyone what they meant and how much you love them, even if you may have felt you didn’t do enough. They know you care.

  4. Amanda Yeager says:

    Hang in there, Maureen! You’re doing an amazing job juggling it all. Hope she heals quickly and life returns to normal as soon as possible.

  5. Marita says:

    OMG thank you SOOO MUCH for this post!! It’s been one of those weeks for me also (not NEARLY as hectic as yours though) and these were just the inspirational words I needed to read. I’m a fairly new mom, EXTREMELY emotional by nature and have NOT been the best umbrella so far for my family but your words are going to stay with me and strengthen me during ‘storm’ moments. I’m happy all is well with your family and Congratulations on your new addition!! Take care and MANY THANKS!!! =)

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