After an 11 hour road trip, Emma arrived home feeling sick to her stomach at 2:30 a.m. After sitting with her for a mercifully uneventful 15 minutes, I gave her a Tums and sent her to bed with a bowl and went to sleep myself. When she woke up in the morning she reported that she felt better after she threw up. I knew nothing of this and neither did my husband! Oh, the dread! Pukey laundry is by far the worst. She must have known what I was thinking because she said, "Don't worry, Mama. I threw up in the bowl and then I washed it out." My 8-year-old daughter not only threw up alone but cleaned it up alone! Who is this child? Just yesterday she was a baby spitting up on me multiple times on a daily basis and here she is taking care of her own sick without waking me. I bet my mom wishes I did that. I would knock on the wall between my room and hers until she got up to come get me and take me down the scary dark hallway to the bathroom. Lord knows she'd better not risk hoping I'd go back to sleep because I was on the top bunk with my sitting duck younger sister sleeping below- probably with her mouth open. (Ha, ha! Sorry, I couldn't resist!)
The more I watch Emma the more I think of my own mom. The more I talk and love and discipline her, the more I sound and act like my own mom. It's the inevitable curse I hoped would never happen that is turning out to be a blessing. Someone has gone before me. For better or for worse, I have learned from my own mother's mothering. I hear her voice when I tease my kids, when I threaten them, when I discipline them. I feel the rage she felt when someone mistreats them or belittles the gift of my "large" family. I feel her heart when I look at them and can't believe how fast they are growing and wonder how much longer they will let me hold them. I can imagine the day I will have to let them go and it breaks my heart like it must have broken hers. I remember being her child and being anxious to shake the dust of my hometown off my feet to see the world. Watching your child grow into the person you hoped would be confident enough to do just that and wish they would never leave- bittersweet is the only word for it.
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