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Kelsea came out of karate yesterday pale and in pain.  Class hadn’t hurt her – she had been having terrible pain in her right flank, in short stabs, for over an hour.  I quizzed her, took her home, tucked her in, took her temperature, forced fluids, gave her Tylenol, fed her mac and cheese. She rated the pain a 9 on a scale of 1-10, and asked me if this was what it was like to be in labor.  Of course, I remember labor, but I can’t be in her body to tell what she’s feeling.  Regardless, it was bad pain.  I have come to realize that Kelsea has inherited my father’s legendary high-pain threshold, so when she says it hurts, you can believe it hurts like the devil.

It was still bad this morning – she couldn’t move without intense pain.  And she’d had some nausea.  Time to call the doctor!  Dr. R. agreed with my preliminary diagnosis – it sounded like the dreaded kidney stone.  Kidney stones in kids, while still rare, are dramatically on the rise.  But that meant that our next stop was the hospital for an ultrasound.  I’ve been in the hospital with Kelsea when I had her (contrary to the insurance company’s bizarre statement that I had her at home) and when she had her bad shoulder x-rayed.  Pat’s been there with her when she had an MRI on the same shoulder, and when he accidentally let the shopping cart she was sitting in tip forward, resulting in a parking lot faceplant when she was a baby.  (I’m glad I missed that one and glad she has such a hard head – figuratively and literally.)

But today, when the Hmong ultrasound tech, who mispronounced Kelsea’s name, and scolded me about her having had cereal three hours previously, told me to sit in the corner and watch, it was like an awful movie.  What was playing through my mind was worse. Looking at the complete and total mystery of the ultrasound pictures – is all black bad? or is fuzzy bad? – my mind went everywhere: to her being really sick – like kidney cancer sick, to her being in even more pain, to her having to stay alone in the hospital, to any and all kinds of unknowns that are as bad as they can be.  My thoughts spun out of control.

Despite Ms. Hmong’s protests, I got up and went to stand beside her, to hold her hand, and stroke her hair.  Because that’s all I could do.  That’s all any mother can do sometimes.  It made us both feel better.  Her beautiful blue eyes looked into my hazel ones and we spoke without words.  We both felt that eternally powerful bond of love between us that made us smile.  It was one of the deepest gazes I’ve ever shared with her.  She lay on that table, in that darkened room, looking like a teenager, looking like a woman, looking like my little girl, and being just an amazing, strong human being.

The ultrasound was inconclusive.  We’re waiting for blood work results.  She’s still in pain, but now instead of me, she has her dad and her dogs and cats for comfort. I’m hoping that she’s not an early third-generation victim of the female kidney stone curse that runs through the women in my family.  But if she is, we’ll deal with it.

As a Mom, you never want your child to hurt, to suffer.  You’d do anything to spare your child pain.  And it’s heartbreaking to feel helpless when you can’t fix their pain.  When I can’t fix her pain.

To complement the Mom-Peeves, I am adding Mom-Moments to the mix.  You Moms know what I’m talking about…those moments when your kid is being so wonderful that you want to freeze the feeling in time.  They can be rare, especially as your kid gets into the teenage years, and especially depending on the character of your kid.

Kelsea and I have both been sick for the last while – she was worse on Thursday, I was worse yesterday.  This morning, she was well enough to go to school, but I sure didn’t feel like getting up and taking her there.  Still, you do what you have to do, right?  Due to her various social commitments, we hadn’t had a lot of time together this weekend.  I am always glad to let her go have a good time, but I know she misses me when she hasn’t seen much of me. 

So this morning, when she was curled in front of the heater on the bathroom floor, having hauled her little carcass out of bed, I came in to see her and she patted the floor next to her and offered to share her heater with me.  We sat for a few minutes, talking, and she asked if she could put her head in my lap.  And so she did.  We sat there, her head in my lap, me stroking her long blonde hair, just happy, just quiet, just being together.  We both wished we could just stay like that all day.

I remembered times when I was all grown-up and I rested my head in my Mother’s lap, and she stroked my hair.  I remember the last time I did that, about two months before she died.  I treasure that memory, just as I will treasure the memory of this morning.  I hope it’s something that will come back to Kelsea some day in the future when she has a little girl, and the cycle of love continues.

Kelsea and I are watching Hungarian television.  We now know the months of the year in Hungarian and that they spend most of November standing around graveyards singing.

It was a beautiful day today.

And tonight we rescued a baby beagle that the youth pastor next door had tied outside the church.  In general, nothing wrong with that, but it was cold and dark and he was a baby, and we know that there are coyotes out there in packs after dark and he was barking and barking and barking and no one was coming to get him.  We let it go on for an hour, until well after dark, before Kelsea insisted on going over to fix things.  So we did.  She’s a good kid.

It was a good weekend.  She loved-loved-loved the haunted house.  We’re hanging now, she’s doing homework.

It’s good to have her home.


August 2021


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