My beloved oldest sweet daughter Grace has been sick to her tummy for about a week, and it came to a crisis yesterday. She laid on the couch all day, sleeping, fevering, looking miserable, and vomiting forth any sustenance I provided.
This morning she threw up yet again, and again laid down miserably on the couch. So I dutifully called and got her worked in to the local clinic's schedule. As soon as she had her coat and mis-matched* boots on, we headed to the doctor's office, where she pranced about the waiting room happily, chatting with the kind and helpful staff, admiring the fish, and generally acting like a sweet, healthy small adorable girl child.
While I was waiting to pay my co-pay, my friend who works there asked if I would like a financial aid application, since Alex is now self-employed. I said, "Sure," and then my awesome tear ducts began malfunctioning. My friend asked when I was due, and I sniffled back at her: "In March." She said, "Are you okay?" Which made me need to cry even more, because oh, a compassionate person. In response to her kind inquiry, I thought the following:
- It injures my over-inflated pride to be offered a financial aid application. Of course there is nothing wrong with applying for financial aid. There is nothing wrong with struggling when a huge percentage of the rest of the nation is struggling. In fact, I often forget my motto (guilt is optional) when I think about how good I actually have it, because there are many people whose husbands aren't handsome, and whose husbands can't fix broken dryers, and who wonder how they will pay their heating bill, and who don't have jobs, or food, or [insert a bajillion things I have]. I feel guilty stressing about our finances, because we actually have it really good right now. Yet it irks me to have to think about applying for financial aid. I know we won't qualify, but that doesn't mean that I enjoy paying medical bill after medical bill.
- I am sleep deprived. For several nights in a row my child has thrown up multiple times, and I have had to drag my heavy body out of my soft bed to hold her hair back from her face, while she calls Ralph on the white phone.
- I am very pregnant, and I had not cried for at least several days, if not several weeks. And weeks are like years in pregnant people time.
- I am dismayed by Grace's sudden seemingly good health. I usually pride myself on not going to the doctor unless it is genuinely necessary, and yet here I am at the office with an unusually bright, cheerful, happy child, claiming that she is sick? I could just hear the thoughts of judgers around me, "That woman must have some sort of problem, bringing healthy children to the doctor's office. She must really need a lot of attention. As if she doesn't get enough attention when she is that pregnant. And with two other small children who aren't even in school yet!"
- I am relieved by Grace's sudden seemingly good health. I had been troubled through the prior sleepless night, and even late into the morning, that her vomiting was probably a sign of something Serious, like [Insert your favorite horrible Disease for Worrying]. Maybe the doctor won't call for Expensive Tests after all [Insert more guilt for worrying about finances when my Child's Health is at stake].
- I haven't worked out in a long time. Something about exercise works out my emotional knots better than drowning them in chocolate or talking them out or bottling and shelving them.
In response to her kind inquiry, I said the following: "I'm fine!" And I smiled, and I'm pretty sure it was the most grotesque thing she had seen a make-upless tired mother with tears streaming down her face do in a week. Lucky for me, now that I have had a good cry, and now that I have dismayed the clinic's entire staff, I am feeling much, much better. And so is Grace. Actually, she seemed to feel better as soon as we got into the car to go to the doctor's office. They have Strawberry Shortcake stickers there, you know.
* Mis-matched: it's like wearing TWO pair of fashionable shoes at once. Can't decide between your favorite two pair? Wear one of each!