I stared at the floor in front of me. I knew what it was. I had heard the goings on moments before. I closed my eyes and sighed big - wishing that it would change before they opened again, but knowing that the job was mine alone.
It was all around me. The odor of partially digested chicken and broccoli and rice crispy treat and mucous and acid drifted around me. I groaned. I guess I could consider myself lucky. The last time this happened, it had been spaghetti and meat sauce.
I wanted to throw a towel over the whole mess and walk away, but there was a boy in the bathroom that needed to get back to his bed.
The same boy that, in his urgent, sickened panic, forgot he had a bowl in his bed for this very reason.
I haven't had to deal with much puke. And not for a long time. I've been pretty lucky in that way.
I didn't miss it one bit.
I realized that I had forgotten paper towels in my shopping last week. I groaned, again, thinking about kneeling over this with a rag and a bucket.
I had jinxed it, you know. Last week, I had been reading a blog about a woman "knee-deep" in vomit. I thought, "Whew! I'm glad my boys aren't yakkers."
Hearing my groans, my son said, "I'm sorry Mom."
Separated by a sea of puke, I just answered, "I know, Sweetie. Stay there so you don't walk through it." I wish I could say that I quickly made a path and swept him up in my arms, tucked him back in his bed caressing his hair while he fell back to sleep.
I wish I could say that.
I did make the path, but he traversed it mostly alone and fell back to sleep after just a peck on the forehead. I focused on the job at hand.
Later, after cleaning it all up and after a load of laundry, I thought about how I reacted. I thought about how I would have wanted my mommy to respond to me when I was sick.
I then thought of how my counselor said that she's noticed that I get the most teary when I talk about what I should be doing.
It's so easy for me to listen to another mom talk about her failings and tell her to not be so hard on herself - and mean it. I've been told many times that I'm too hard on myself.
Why is it so hard to afford that same sympathy and empathy for myself? Why do we moms do that?
It's all right to want to do better. Doing our best is all anyone can ask. But somehow, we demand more of ourselves and then feel terrible when we don't measure up.
So I put my question to you, gentle reader. How do we show the same kindness to ourselves that we show to others? How do YOU that?