My preschool age daughter was up most of the night, intermittently crying, stubbornly refusing to admit anything was wrong, and making endless potty trips in which she huddled on the edge of the seat sobbing while I tried desperately (and fruitlessly) to comfort her. She finally fell truly asleep this morning and I let her sleep until almost noon.
A trip to the doctor this afternoon confirmed what I suspected - despite my daughter's protests to the contrary, she actually is sick, with both an ear infection and a viral throat infection. I had the bright idea to have my other daughter, a toddler with a confirmed phobia of doctors, examined during the same visit because she has discharge from her eye, congestion, and a history of bad ear infections that sneak up out of nowhere. Aside from her goopy eye, she's fine. I, however, feel as if I've been trampled by a herd of elephants. The doctor-phobia has become a self-fulfilling prophecy as my daughter struggles and rails and shrieks when approached by anyone resembling a medical professional. It falls on me to pin this child in a wrestling hold which will enable the doctor to gain the most brief glimpses into her ears, nose, throat. I feel like a betrayor.
Despite these traumas: of a long, weepy night; of face to face confrontation with fear in a lab coat, both children are now happily watching a Pooh video, playing, and laughing. The moment has come and gone for them; now they are in another. For me, the moments are still here, and I find myself holding onto them. It is a time of intense emotion, anxiety, and exhaustion as they turn to me, needy but unwilling or unable to express what it is they need. But I also know it is a time that will not last, this time when I am the universe and my hug is all the comfort it takes to bring a smile. I want to savor it.