It’s never fun when illness sweeps through the house, but this lady’s dealing with nine layers of trauma on top of it. Part 1 deals with what happens when one sibling requires more attention than the other:
“Mary and Carl are fiercely loyal to each other and protective of each other. In outside settings, they cling together and block out the world around them. Throwing a mom and dad into that relationship shifted their dynamic. All of the sudden they had a resource that they both desperately wanted. Deep down, they still believe this resource is fleeting…
Mary was sick first. I cradled her head in my lap on the bathroom floor for about five hours. She was feverish, wrapped in a cocoon of blankets, and snuggled into me for all she was worth…
Carl was fine. He wanted to play with me outside. He was utterly mystified that I needed to stay in the bathroom with Mary for hours…Soon Carl was convinced that I didn’t love him.”
And then, as every parent knows, the inevitable happened. Mommy got sick. Which, for many reasons, is the end of the world for Carl. Part 2:
“I have done the unthinkable thing. The unforgivable thing. The thing that cannot be undone. I have gotten sick. What’s worse than that? The fact that I am already ‘mom.’ These two things are the worst things that one can be, according to Carl. These two things combine to seal my fate.
As far as Carl’s experience goes a puking mom is a drunk mom. A mom who needs to sleep in bed probably won’t get up for days or weeks because she is using. Therefore I should never be sick. What’s worse is that in Carl’s experience, moms hit kids. They don’t wake up to take their children off the school bus. Moms are scary and unavailable and unpredictable. Therefore, I should never be ‘mom.’ Too late.”