It was probably one of my more pathetic mommy days up to that point, and although I’ve had a few doozies since, it still stands strong in my memory...especially considering the kids are now all pre-teens/teens! It was Day One of my diet and it was my first ever attempt at dieting. I had (finally) decided to take off the baby weight now that the baby was almost two years old. OK—actually, it was to take off the pre-baby twenty pounds plus the twenty pounds of baby weight. There’s a general understanding and even sympathy for the “freshman fifteen” but why not the “newlywed nineteen”?!
When the day started with the 20-month-old throwing up, it was rather easy to be on a diet. Who wants to eat—who has time to eat—when you’re on bucket patrol? However, within a few hours some super pathetic, poor-me thinking took place, and I started to get really jealous of my husband. “No one is throwing up on him. He can actually close the door when he goes to the bathroom. Heck, he has time to go to the bathroom. I bet he’s sitting on an actual chair not kneeling on the floor with a bucket under someone.” Once I remembered that I didn’t have to wear nylons OR shoes to do my job, (or even leave the house for that matter), I got over my mental hissy fit and settled in for the glamorous part of mommy-hood.
After an Arthur-bucket-change-The-Big-Comfy-Couch-bucket-change-bucket-change-Veggie-Tales-video-bucket-change morning (you get the idea), I decided that I really needed to eat, as did my four-year-old son. (Who I was afraid to feed, figuring he would eventually get sick too.) Once the hoarky kid fell asleep on the towel and sheet draped sofa, I made (and really enjoyed) my healthy lunch…stir-fry veggies with leftover strip steak. And although I was tempted, I didn’t finger wipe/lick the big glob of peanut butter that was “leftover” on the knife after making my son’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One time, I figured that approximately one-fourth of each peanut butter jar was probably eaten by my effort to clean the generous glob of peanut butter that I had conveniently “leftover" on the knife.
By mid-afternoon, the little guy was starting to hold his own and perk up a bit and he actually asked for his sippie cup. After allowing him half a sip while over the bucket, I relaxed a bit, eventually allowing two sips in a row. By late afternoon, I stopped fearing every move he made, and I even ran to the basement to switch the laundry. (A daring, but necessary feat during this time.) The calm got sucked right out of me as soon as I came back upstairs from the laundry room and saw the four year old waiting for me. He uttered the words, “Mom, I think I’m…..” I yelled for him to run into the bathroom and aim for the toilet, and I followed him. Except that I didn’t get very far. And, I wasn’t on my feet.
You know how little boys have LOTS of play cars? And you know how the house goes to pot when the kids are sick? I either stepped on or tripped on (or both) a pile of cars, and I went down in a heap. A big heap. Of course the thought “Less of me would have gone down had I started this stupid diet sooner” entered my head before pain in my ankle took over all thinking. My right ankle. My driving ankle. My driving-to-see-other-people-who-speak-like-adults-and-don’t-wet-the-bed ankle!! I half laid, half sat there and started to cry as I watched my son throwing up in the bathroom, IN the toilet, thank goodness. The 20-month-old remained glued to the TV, unaware of anything else happening except what was on the screen. He had just seen more TV that day than in his entire life previously. (Note to self: will need to establish strong restrictions on TV viewing for this child.) The glamorous, fun part of motherhood was nearly overwhelming as I considered my options. Call the nanny on her day off? Climb into bed and pretend none of this was happening?
I called my mom. I was crying. I was worse than the kids--combined--on a bad day. My mom should have been a crisis counselor. Mom had an immediate plan, and my only job was to call my husband and kindly ask him to come home. Mom was on her way over, too. I had enough sense to gather myself together and get a grip as I waited for the reinforcements to arrive. Somehow, I got my rapidly swelling ankle elevated and then proceeded to lavish praise on the four-year-old for making it into the bathroom. He now had full control of the throw up bucket and joined his glassy-eyed younger brother, who I knew was sitting far too close to the TV screen. I kinda figured (hoped?) it wouldn’t be doing permanent eyeball damage, no matter what my grandma had said. My husband came home and looked so calm and collected and he smelled good—very non-throw-upy. Mom arrived about the same time, looking and smelling as good as my husband. It was then that I decided to change into a clean shirt and brush my hair before mom drove me to the emergency room.
We arrived at the ER, I eventually got settled in and was given painkillers. The ankle x-ray was next, and I’ve yet to understand the gymnastics one goes through to make the technician happy with “the picture.” I’m thinking, “My kids are at home throwing up, it’s the first day of my lousy diet, I changed into better clothes to go to the emergency room for crying out loud and you want me to bend my injured ankle HOW?”
Eventually, the very kind and patient ER doctor came back to my curtained enclosure and gave me the happy news that my ankle was not broken, just badly bruised and sprained. His next less comforting words were about needing crutches and about sprains hurting as much as breaks and about sprains possibly taking as long to heal as breaks and about taking it easy and staying off my feet, blah, blah, blah. (Seriously, why do doctors tell moms to “take it easy” or “stay off your feet” or “be sure to get extra rest”?! Except for imminent danger or death, moms don’t stay off their feet or just take it easy!!)
The nurse who was in my curtained area was watching me, and she saw my face blanche. She laid the bed all the way back, and both she and the doctor asked if the pain was making me nauseous. I shook my head NO, then leaned over the side of the bed (praying for a garbage can) and threw up….partly hitting my new, clean shirt. Lovely. I had to reassure them that getting sick wasn’t due to pain, but I was, in fact, the third vomit victim in my family since earlier in the day. The doctor discharged me with crutches after my mom assured him that someone would be there to make sure I truly did rest and elevate my foot…with a bucket in my lap.
I had a few thoughts on that pathetically fateful first day of my diet. “Working with all your heart as for the Lord” means just that—my work for His glory. My work looks very different than my husband’s work and probably very different from your work.
God doesn’t categorize and assign importance to “work.” He just says “do it” and “do it for Me!“While in a mental pity-party, I can think I have a thankless, tiring job. The reality is that some days, I do! And, some days, I don’t. It doesn’t matter…..the command to “do your job for Me” does not change. Ecclesiastes 7:14 says that good times and bad times are both made by God...He’s not surprised by either. That day in my life—while I can laugh about it now—was not exactly under my control. I often ask myself if I am submitting to and trusting in God’s hand of control and plan for me, even on the icky days. (Which in the grand scheme of things is really, really tame and lame compared to what many women deal with in their lives.) How’s my attitude toward my current “work” and with what frame of mind am I doing it?
I also had the thought to get an equal number of throw up buckets as kids. We now have three. (Throw up bucket/kid combos.) I also had the thought that getting the stomach flu can jump start a diet by 6.2 pounds, so it really wasn't ALL bad.