Being a parent is THE most stressful thing. And I have it easy. One kid. No major health issues. Normal behavior. Easy peasy. Yet still THE most stressful thing. I must be a complete wuss or something.
Kiddo had a tummy bug a couple of weekends ago. She recovered in a couple of days but seems to complain of her stomach hurting on a very regular basis lately. This Friday night, more tummy issues that were not pretty and then this afternoon she started hurting again. This time actually writhing in pain in between bits of sleep. She’d say in the most pitiful voice, “Mommy, what’s wrong with me?” and “I only want my tummy to stop hurting”, and her little face was all scrunched up with hurt and I couldn’t do anything but lay next to her and stroke her hair and hold her hand. The Accountant and I debated a trip to the ER but then she’d settle down and sleep some more. At the very least, a trip to the pediatrician is in order if this keeps up.
And of course, you can’t research your kid’s illness (or anyone’s for that matter) without reading the most horrible and worst case scenarios. I know this but I Google whatever it is anyway, therefore only making the worry exponentially worse.
I don’t know how parents of children with chronic or terminal illness do it. I remember a sermon once by a man in his 30s who has a son who is disabled and wheelchair bound. He said that people say to him and his wife all the time, “I don’t know how you do it”. His response was a candid, “you don’t have a choice, you just do it”. I have no idea what the sermon was about but that anecdote sticks with me. My kid has a stomach ache and I stress eat an entire can of ranch flavored Pringles in one sitting.
Besides parents of seriously ill children, what about parents of more than one? How do you keep them all healthy at once? How do you possibly walk around wearing multiple hearts on the outside of your body and not drive yourself directly to Straightjacket Town thinking about bullies, sickness, broken bones, car accidents, food poisoning, bad grades, peer pressure, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll????????? Oh sure, its two or three or more times the love and cuddles but also that much more of the worries and stress. I’ll pass thanks, but major respect to those of you who are rockin’ the parenting of multiple offspring.
Now I need a paper bag to breathe into. And more Pringles.