During different times in my life I have come across events that will cause me to lose time. An entire day will literally evaporate around me as if I’ve been in some sort of induced coma. Suddenly I look around me only to realize that the sun has set and the day is gone. Historically those lost days have involved 1) movie marathons, 2) clearance sales and 3) hangovers.
At this point in my life I have found one other thing that can cause a lost day: a sick child. As a parent you listen as your tender babe awakens and you can gauge exactly where that little sniffle is headed. The sniffle becomes a sneeze, which becomes a whimper and then a moan, which leads to crying, which causes coughing fits that inevitably end up with vomiting. And each of those steps will take place: On. My. Lap.
There I sit, for the entire day because, as gratifying and aggravating as it is, I seem to be that which comforts them most. Oh, I’ve tried to introduce stuffed animals and blankets, which could offer the amount of cuddling they need with a much softer temperament. But, no, for some reason they seem drawn to me. And so, I cuddle. For days on end. That’s right, because when you’ve created three creatures who are susceptible to germs, they will all fall prey–and not necessarily on the SAME day. (Had I known this I would have given birth only to super-heroes, but nobody warned me early on and I fell prey to the allure of mere mortal babies).
So, I have just spent the better part of a week comforting and coddling. Wiping brows, brewing tea, cooking soup and cleaning out “the bucket”. The Baby ended up with croup and I found myself, very late one night, trying to comfort this crying, coughing, screaming toddler while I sat with him in the bathroom with steam pouring from the shower. This was when I realized one more way in which I suck as a mother: I don’t know any soothing lullaby songs with which to calm my child. I searched my brain for the words to any songs with a slow, rhythmic melody that I may have heard in my lifetime. Bits of lyrics began to jump out at me. Melodies of ballads long ago forgotten filled my head. Before I knew it I was softly singing those songs as I rocked my son into a peaceful state. And someday, my son may find himself in the same position: searching is mind for a song that brought him comfort in his childhood, and he may sing “Still Loving You”, “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, or some other power ballad to his own kids.
And so, I now realize that in a number of ways, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the gods of heavy metal. Had I not spent my formative years kneeling upon their altar I would have missed out on so many of the lessons that now help me survive motherhood: the endurance to stay up all night and still be to work by 7 am, the ability to understand even the most screaming/hysterical speech patterns, the belief that it isn’t really a celebration unless someone has puked, and a full mental catalog of 80’s power rock lullabies with which to soothe my innocent babes.