Mothering, Writing

What a crazy life I lead.
This morning I was a chaperone at my daughter’s field trip to the fire station. Spending your morning with a group of kindergartners is always tricky. When you take them out of their environment, you never know how they will behave, what will come out of their mouths, or who will get sick. That was the case today. A sweet little one got sick all over the firehouse.
While I am helping the little one and the teacher, gently pushing my own daughter aside, I am struck with the thoughts: “What happens if I get sick? What happens if Tess gets sick?” I am almost certain that one of us will. And it will be tomorrow. And tomorrow is the book launch.
But, today I am a Mom who chaperones. Tomorrow I will don my new dress, even paint my nails, put on some make-up, and squeeze into pantyhose, which is something I don’t miss about working in an office every day.
But, today I am a Mom who cleans up puke and pats little backs. Tomorrow, I will sign books and chat politely with anybody who buys one.
Right now, I wonder how I will leave Tess if she gets sick. How will I show up to sign books if my daughter is throwing up and needs me? On the one hand, signing books seems so inconsequential when weighed against your sick child. On the other hand, I’ve been working on this book for 4 years and this all a big part of my responsibility—and of my reward. I love signing books and meeting people who love books.
Of course, my husband will step in and be there for Tess, should she get sick. But it will send a cloud over my head as I march off to the restaurant. Working Moms everywhere must do this. Painting a smile on your face, while there is a gnawing feeling in your stomach.
There is hope, of course, maybe the sickness won’t come. Maybe Tess’s immune system is stronger than I think. Maybe it will be fine.

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