Category Archives: Health

Death (doesn’t) become her

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.

Oh, sorry. That might be a bit too heavy of a sentence right off the bat. This is meant to be a “humor” column, after all. Let me start over.

Good morning! How are you? I’m fantastic. My toddler had a meltdown inside a store and I dropped a meatball on my baby’s face. But Starbucks is now selling their Peppermint Mocha Latte again so it all evened out.

Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately. Not any particular death. Just in general. Like, what does it all mean? Is there an afterlife? Will the mortician doing the makeup on my dead face get my eyeliner right?

But mostly, I’ve been obsessing about how I definitely do not want to die. Like, ever.

You might think that something like that should go without saying, but then you are likely a well-adjusted person with a 401K and someone who didn’t spend the first 35 years of their life thinking okra was some kind of seafood.

Not that I ever wished for death (the Great Flu Vomitpalooza of 2015, which occurred right after the Great Chinese Buffet Overindulgence Shamefest of 2015, notwithstanding). I fully enjoy breathing and all that comes with it. It’s just that in past I was always fairly laid back regarding mortality.

This was especially true when I was young, because when you’re young, you are invincible. Death is merely theoretical. Like, yeah, everyone dies. Of course. I never will but sure, yeah, I get it. Everyone dies.

Except me.

Then I got older and started having to adult full-time. And while I now truly understood that, yes, I too will die someday, I was still somewhat ambivalent at this point because paying taxes and dating are just the worst. I didn’t want to die, per se. But, hey, if it meant not having to awkwardly break up with Craig via text and would end this epic hangover from hell, I wouldn’t, you know, rage against the dying of the light or anything.

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But then I had kids. And those adorable little jerks changed everything because the millisecond after looking into their tiny screaming faces for the very first time, I knew that I absolutely had to live forever. FOREVER. I can never, ever, ever, ever leave them. EVER. I’ve often heard people say “my children are my reason for living.” Well, my children are the reason I can no longer die.

EVER.

Seriously, the thought of leaving them reduces me to heaving sobs and the ugliest of ugly cries. I have so much more to teach them! So much more to show them! At least 80 more Thanksgiving dinners with them where I ruin the day with another Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument!

And then there are the million more days I need with them because they are simply the best human beings to have ever existed.   

Because that’s the thing about having kids. Even with the exhaustion and the fears and the tantrums and the mysterious smells emanating from under the couch, my kids make my life more. More colorful. More fun. More beautiful.

Every holiday is magical again. A walk through the woods is full of gnomes and fairies again. And love is back to its purest, simplest form again.

It’s life in Technicolor.

And there is no way I’m missing out on a single minute.

So, currently my plan is to live to 114, where I will be raising my great-grandchildren because my granddaughter June is a complete hot mess because she was too spoiled by her grandmother. And by then, when I finally do kick the bucket, the technology will exist to link up my consciousness with a computer, turning me into an awesome old lady robot who says completely inappropriate things in a cool robot voice.

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Or better yet, I will become a vampire. And when my children die, I will spend the rest of my immortality just chilling at their grave sites and going trick-or-treating with my great-great-great grandchildren and eating all the descendants of the people who bullied me when I was in elementary school.

Because the alternative is no longer acceptable. I simply cannot ever leave my kids.

I’m not just going to rage against the dying of the light.

I’m going to punch it in the throat and knee it in the balls.

 

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It’s the season of the sick

It’s almost Halloween, guys! The candy! The costumes! The cocktails! And most importantly, the release of season two of “Stranger Things”!

Truly, it’s the best time of the year.  

Ahem…

If you’re single.

But if you happen to be a parent, October really does live up to its reputation as the scariest month (and not just because your kids won’t let you binge-watch “Stranger Things” no matter how much you beg them).

Forget the mountain of treats that turn your offspring into manipulative and heartless sugar addicts. And all the idiots ordering that stupid zombie drink at Starbucks that takes the barista three hours to make when all you want is a giant-ass dark roast so you don’t collapse on top of your toddler. Or even the fact you can’t find a decent Halloween costume because they only make slutty costumes for women and you now have mom boobs that look ridiculous in a skimpy “Rainbow Brite” outfit.

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No, this is the scariest time of year because this is when it all starts. The season of the sick. The marathon of mucus. The tsunami of tsissues.

That relentless march of germs that invade your children’s bodies and doesn’t quit until that one beautiful week in May when everyone in your family is finally healthy again. (And then promptly begins again that beautiful week in June when everyone suddenly comes down with an awful summer cold).

It all starts NOW.

My kids don’t even have to be around other kids to get sick this time of year. If anyone within a 23-mile radius encounters even a single germ, my children somehow know (probably via mucus telepathy), and they immediately start ripping through tissue boxes like we own stock in Kleenex.

True story. We just got back from visiting family in Ohio. Now, my extended family has approximately 18,000 small children as members. Of those 18,000 children, approximately 17,999 were sick. Or just getting over being sick. Or just starting to come down with something. Or coughed sometime in September but we weren’t taking any chances.  

So, we quarantined our children, even though it interfered with all our plans. We hunkered down at Memaw’s house and hosed down their tiny bodies every three hours with a gallon of hand sanitizer followed by a blast of Lysol directly to the face.

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And yet, AND YET, my little one still woke up one morning with a fever. Which she kindly passed on to her older brother because she licked his eyeballs during a fun game of “Wrestle Until Someone Cries.”

And then she broke out in a horrible rash. But he didn’t. Which made for a particularly rousing game of “What’s The Amateur Diagnosis?”

We specifically avoided any and all people, healthy or sick, going as far as to jump on top of anyone under five feet tall like they were a germ grenade if they even THOUGHT of approaching our babies.

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But it didn’t matter. Because it never matters. Because life is short and cruel and full of snot.

WHY ARE CHILDREN ALWAYS SICK? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, their immature immune systems and other science “facts.” But seriously, WHY ARE CHILDREN ALWAYS SICK?

It’s never when you need them to be sick either. Like when you need a viable excuse to get out of your friend Dave’s “Make Your Own Calzone” party. Or when, say, the latest season of “Stranger Things” becomes available and you need a guilt-free reason to put them in a Benadryl coma so you can watch it.

Oh no. Then they are the picture of health and pestering you endlessly to go to the playground or the library or “parent” them in any discernible form.

They only get sick when it is the worst possible time. Like, oh, I don’t know, on vacation.

And then they stay sick forever.

And ever and ever and ever and then a brief recovery just in time for you to begrudgingly attend Dave’s “Game of Thrones” wine tasting party, and then ever and ever and ever and ever.

Here soon I won’t even be able to remember a time when one of them wasn’t sick. They will just pass germs back and forth with each other all fall and winter and for the next one hundred million months. And they’ll be miserable. And I’ll be miserable. And Daddy will be miserable (mostly because his wife is an asshole when she’s miserable).

On the plus side, however, maybe I will finally get to watch “Stranger Things.”

Where did I put that damn bottle of Benadryl?  

 

My bartender was a mixologist (& other horror stories)

You know how people are afraid of turning a street corner and suddenly realizing they are in the “bad” part of town? Or walking into a bar and seeing that’s it’s filled with bikers and ruffians? Well, I have the opposite fear. My fear is walking into a new place and realizing with horror that it’s fancy. That they don’t have bartenders, they have “mixologists.” That the clientele all look like they just walked off the set of “Girls.”

Of course, you’d think this would be a pretty rare occurrence but it happens more than it should because they’re sneaky now. Gentrification has ruined everything and everywhere. You innocently walk into what appears to be a dive bar when BAM. They just made it LOOK like a dive bar. Hand over $17 for that fancy beer you can’t pronounce, unsophisticated peasant.

Now, I realize what I am about to write next will give away my age and thus embarrass myself. Not my real age, of course. I’m not embarrassed about that. Being embarrassed about your age is basically apologizing for being good at not dying.

But it will give away my mental age and I AM embarrassed about that. Because I am a 36-year-old with the mentality of an 87-year-old. This is especially true when it comes to money. (You want how much for my gourmet coffee? Why, back in my day, it only cost an arm, not also a leg). But still, I feel I should share my experience because it’s time all of us un-fancy people band together.

And so…ahem…

All these fears culminated last week when my family decided to grab a bite to eat after my son’s soccer “practice” (and I use that term oh-so-loosely because he’s 3, they’re all 3, and so it more resembles extras running around in a disaster movie).

Let’s try a new place, we said. Let’s be spontaneous, we said. This is definitely a decision that will not blow up in our face, we said.

So, we strolled through our decidedly not fancy neighborhood until we came upon an innocent enough looking place. But then, just as we walked in far enough that making a quick exit would have been awkward, we noticed the Mason jars. The exposed ceiling. The iPhone photography on the walls. The white bartender…SPORTING DREADLOCKS.

And we knew, the color draining from our faces, that we had entered into a HIP ARTISAN EATERY (fancy slang for “we cannot afford this place”). It looked like every scene from “Portlandia” had been filmed there. And when we got the menu, which only had five items, plus a drink menu of craft cocktails that was 55 pages long, our fate was sealed.

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We tried to make the best of it. I got what anywhere else would be described on the menu as “the truck stop special” or perhaps “the big breakfast”. Here it had a fancy unpronounceable name that looked like a Spanish word had a threeway with two French words. It consisted of fried eggs, bacon, toast and “holme frites,” which after some Sherlockian deducing, I figured out was pretentious speak for “home fries.”

(When I got home, I Googled “holme frites” and even Google was like “wtf…that’s not a thing.”)

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A small cup of black coffee was $4 (I was too scared to ask for a refill). My trucker special was $17. (See? What did I say? 87-years-old mentally. I have to tell you exactly how much everything costs and then want you to be as outraged as I am. Why, I remember when a pack of smokes was $2 and a gal could get a free cocktail with a little flash of leg, dearie).

And forget a kids menu. While places like these don’t “actively discourage you from bringing in your kids,” they actively discourage you from bringing in your kids. Which is why they ate the ancient Cheerios and raisins lying at the bottom of the diaper bag that had been in there since my youngest was still renting out my uterus.  

But I will give the place this. It was delicious. And the place was beautiful. And the service was impeccable. Because I’m not here to insult these kinds of places.

You want fancy? Great. You want a small menu curated by an actual fancy chef? Fantastic. You don’t spiral into a rage when you have to spend $24 for a cheeseburger? Bully for you!

There is nothing wrong with any of that. There are people out there who will pay out the butt for local, fresh, organic, seasonal fare. And good for them. They will likely live very long lives with very clear skin.

So, I’m not saying get rid of these places. I’m saying stop making them look like a normal place I can afford until I sit down, see the menu and die of an aneurysm. Because the only way I am paying $24 for a cheeseburger is if it also gets me drunk. Very drunk.

It’s simply a matter of timing. I am not mentally, emotionally or financially able to eat at one of these places currently. I am at a place in my life where I need you to fling some chicken nuggets at my whiny toddler and throw some mushy mixed vegetables into my crying baby’s gaping maw so I can take three minutes to choke down something comforting and deep fried. Anything other than this is stressful and confusing and it makes me angry because I am an 87-year-old woman.

So, please, stop making fancy places look not fancy. Or, at the very least, if you have your heart set on that industrial-chic aesthetic, put an old lady out front who whispers to shabby families like mine before we walk in “they call home fries “holmes frites” here, sweetie, keep walking.”

 

World’s No. 1 Worst Soccer Mom

My toddler just started playing on a soccer team. Of course, by “soccer” I mean allegedly a sport in other parts of the world, and by “team” I mean a loose configuration of tiny humans who run around confused and are desperately trying to avoid playing anything that resembles “soccer.”

It’s super fun (she types wishing there was a sarcasm font).

No, no. Really, it is. Or, at least it would be, if either my son or me had the slightest interest in doing it. But, as it turns out, he is the laziest soccer player in the world and I am the world’s worst soccer mom.   

This toxic combo is especially awful because when it comes to toddler soccer, it’s the parents that do the heavy lifting of the actual soccer playing. We go out on the field with them and help them do the drills and, in my particular case, even hold my son’s hand while we kick soccer balls way too hard in the wrong direction because he is going through a “shy” phase (the quotes here are important because this alleged shyness appears only when we are doing something he doesn’t necessarily want to do). In fact, the only one in the family who seems to enjoy soccer is his baby sister and this is despite the fact she is getting jiggled to death in her baby carrier.

The coaches are great. The parents are great. The other kids are great.

Riker and I just happen to be the worst.

What makes this particularly ironic is that I grew up in a small Ohio town. That alone meant I was pretty much legally required to love sports. To be a devoted fan of sports. Where I’m from, you’re not even allowed to marry someone who supports a rival sports team without written permission from your parents, both head coaches, and a religious leader who supports the same team you do and shows it by ending church service early during the season so you don’t miss the pre-game coverage.

I exaggerate, of course.

It can just be verbal consent.

As a kid in a small Midwestern town, I also did my due diligence and played sports as well. Starting with T-ball and later moving up to volleyball, basketball, track and one season as a truly awful cheerleader. Every season I played a sport and every summer was one long sports camp after the other. I was so busy with sports as a teenager it’s amazing I even had time to illegally drink all that cheap room temperature beer in the middle of a cornfield.

So, see, by all rights I should be a fantastic sports mom. Especially considering I had a fantastic role model. My mom went to all of my games. ALL OF THEM. Freezing track meets in the spring, volleyball games in un-air-conditioned gyms in the early fall, basketball games where my team only scored four points the entire game (true story).

ALL.

OF.

THEM.

And as far as I know, she never once rolled her eyes or complained. Meanwhile, when Riker looks at me during soccer and says “can we go home now?”, I respond “god, I hope so soon.”

Anyone know where I can buy a “World’s Worst Soccer Mom” shirt?

But that ends today. Because my son deserves better. Because he deserves what I had growing up. Because even though I no longer watch sports or play sports or care about sports, all those years of my life devoted to youth sports ultimately made me a better person. And I want the same kind of experience for my kids.

So, I’m going to do what any good woman does for the men in her life. I’m going to fake it. From here on out, I am soccer’s No. 1 fan from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. every Thursday and Friday, Eastern Standard Time. I will cheer and be enthusiastic and keep the eye-rolling to a minimum whenever I hear yet another person yell “DON’T USE YOUR HANDS!” I even bought a soccer ball for my son so we can practice in the park (and by “practice” I mean “run around and kick the ball in random directions until we kick it in the river and it’s lost forever”).

Yes, I will fake it! I will make him think that I love every second of watching him play soccer! Even though technically I’m the one doing the soccer drills while yelling “Look! See how fun this is, sweetie?” while he chases a butterfly and picks his nose!

You know, this experience makes me really glad that my own mother truly did love being at every single one of my gam…oh wait…

Oh…

OOH…

Well played, mom. Well played.

Honey, what’s for dinner? Negotiations.

I’m not exactly sure when it happened. I have a feeling it was something like when you go broke: gradually, then all at once. But somehow our nightly family dinners have turned into one big negotiation session (occasionally escalating into a full-blown hostage situation).

It doesn’t matter what I make. It doesn’t matter how many options I give. It doesn’t matter that it’s Friday and it’s been a long week and I’m so over it and mentally checked out around 3 p.m.

My kids never want to eat the dinner I make them.

Ever.

Well, I take back that last part. My toddler does have a very specific list of things he’ll eat.

Yogurt.

Raisins.

Mac and cheese (but only the boxed, chemically-loaded kind…so help you if you give him a homemade cheesy pasta containing anything that resembles a nutrient).

End of list.

He’s cut out apples and crackers and spaghetti and sausage and eggs and corn and the actual chicken part of chicken tenders. All things I used to be able to get him to eat. He’s worse than when you invite your high maintenance friend over for a dinner party and she’s always on some ridiculous diet and acts like it’s YOUR fault that she can’t eat anything because pretty much all the food in your kitchen contains sugar, flour, gluten, fat, soy, chemicals and everything that makes life worth living.

And my 9-month-old is almost as bad as my toddler. I made the mistake of letting her try fruit and now she realizes what a sham vegetables are and spits out anything that is not fruit.

But I did not ruin my body, and my sanity, and my freedom, and that part of my brain that can remember if I’ve seen this TV episode before or not, keeping them alive and healthy for three years only to watch them starve to death because I dared to give them a well-balanced meal.

So, every night, it goes like this:

Toddler: Mommy, I’m all done.

Me: You haven’t eaten anything.

Toddler: Yeah. Cause I’m all done.

Baby: *sound of mashed peas being spit out*

Me: You need to take three bites of mashed potatoes.

Toddler: One bites?

Me: Three.

Toddler: Then I get Girl Scout Cookies?

Me: No. Someone ate all those while hiding and crying in the bathroom last week.

Toddler: Who?

Me: Don’t worry about it.

Baby: *sound of spoon hitting the ground because she whacked it out of my hand*

Toddler: I can’t, Mommy.

Me: Then you’ll just have to sit there while the rest of us eat.

Baby: *emits tiny Viking warrior princess yell because I shoved more peas in her gaping maw*

Toddler: Can I have raisins?

Me: No…(semi-worried he may actually starve to death)…ok, fine, you can have some raisins IF you eat three bites of mashed potatoes and one bite of meatloaf.

Toddler: Nah. I’ll just sit here then.

Me: (don’t give in, don’t give in, don’t give in) …ok, fine, two bites of mashed potatoes (damn it).

Toddler: One bites.

Me: Two.

Toddler: ONE! *starts crying*

Baby: *grabs jar of mashed peas and dumps it on her head*

Me: Sigh…

Toddler: Where you going, Mommy?

Me: To get raisins. I give up. And to get Mommy some of her Mommy grapes.

Toddler: Do you mean wine?

Me: Shut up and eat your raisins.

Call me weak if you must but feeding your children is a primal NEED. I NEED to feed their whiny little faces. Need it unlike anything I’ve ever needed before. Eat! I internally scream in my head pretty much on a daily basis. Or I’ll die! Eat anything! I don’t care anymore! Just. Eat.

And trust me, I did the hard ass routine. I’d make that kid sit in his chair until he ate all (then, ok fine, three, then two, then one, then how about you just lick it to see if you like it?) carrots. And every time it ended the same way: Three hours later, both of us angry and crying, and exactly zero carrots licked.

So, for all our mental health, I backed off. They both respond better to honey than vinegar (just don’t try to give them actual honey…or vinegar…or food).

Which is how we got here. Sitting around the dinner table. Making complicated and ridiculous mediations like a family of rich people in the midst of a strained but somewhat amicable divorce.

Two green beans for a fourth a cup of yogurt. One BIG bite of rice for the rest of Mommy’s cake. More milk if you finish the chicken part of the chicken nugget. I’ll take the beach house and you can have the Benz.

I hope someday it gets better. And I cling to this hope like it’s the last life jacket on the Titanic.

But just like the Titanic, I know deep down I’m doomed. That dinner will always be some version of this.

At least until they go to college and almost drown in the lukewarm waters of Ramen noodles made in a coffee maker.

Who hates Mommy’s lasagna now, suckers?

I’m a Fitbit person now

Guys, it’s been nice knowing you. You’re all swell, really. But eventually all good things must come to an end. So, while I enjoyed our time together, it’s a new year and time for me to move on. Time for me to leave you in the dust as I walk exactly…*checks wrist* …6,101 steps away from you.

I’m a Fitbit person now.

Yes, dear readers, thanks to my husband and a very merry Christmas, I am now the proud owner of a Fitbit, those magical little devices that shoot laser beams into your arms and let you know just what a lazy sack of human pudding you are on a near constant basis.

What a time to be alive!

Needless to say, I instantly fell in love. There is something weirdly intoxicating about having every single movement and moment of your day logged by a tiny robot who gives you electronic stickers and trophies when you do good (like walking in a circle around your house while eating frosting straight from the container instead of eating it on the couch like some kind of barbarian). I should hate it. The lazy me terrified of Big Brother that I have been for the past 30-odd years should absolutely loathe it. But I don’t.

Because I’m a Fitbit person now.

And don’t worry. It’s not like because I have a Fitbit now that I’m a better person than you or anything.

Except I’m a better person than you now.

Just look at how this divine little watch has improved not only my life, but the life of my family. Our house is now filled with health-conscious conversations such as this:

Me: Guess how many steps I’ve taken today!

Husband: Is it much different from the amount you told me 15 minutes ago?

Me: 879! Wanna know how many times I was restless last night while sleeping?

Husband: I haven’t even had my coffee yet, babe.

Me: You only have yourself to blame.

And this one:

Husband: Hey, can you run upstairs and grab me the tape? I don’t know where you put it.

Me: No.

Husband: Um…please?

Me: I can’t. My Fitbit is charging.

Husband: …

Me: I want credit for walking up the stairs.

Husband: …

Me: You only have yourself to blame.

And this one:

Toddler: Momma, can you carry me?

Me: I wish I could, sweetheart, but then my Fitbit doesn’t log my steps when you’re in my arms.

Toddler: …

Me: You only have your father to blame.

I mean, can I help it that I’m pretty much the healthiest person alive now? I have a resting heart rate of 55, thanks to lugging around two adorable children (who I’m pretty sure are made up of chicken nuggets and quark-gluon plasma, the densest material ever created) all day around the city. And thanks to living on the second and third floor of our rented house, I climb on average 18 flights of stairs a day. Shoot, I burned 43 calories just in the time it took me to eat half of a leftover holiday cheeseball.

And, AND, I managed to get 15,000 daily steps in last Wednesday, enough to earn me the Urban Boot badge, thankyouverymuch. I can’t believe I spent all those years walking around without a computer logging every step like some kind of idiot. What a waste!

Alas, clearly, my family doesn’t understand.

I guess I can’t blame them. I mean, I’d be bitter too if I had never earned the Happy Hill badge or the Weekend Warrior trophy.

But I’m hoping, my dear readers, you do. That you do understand why my health has become my top priority and why I only want to talk to other people who know at any given moment exactly how many steps it took them to walk to Starbucks in their fancy athleisure wear.

So, please, by all means, keep reading my blogs and columns. But if you see me in person, let’s just ignore each other and awkwardly avoid eye contact. Which should be easy enough. I’ll likely be looking at my wrist anyway.

I’m a Fitbit person now.

 

Have you hugged your nurse today?

She couldn’t have been much more than 100 pounds. Just super petite. Tiny even. This was made even more apparent when compared to my extremely rotund and bloated figure. So when she said “lean your head against my chest and squeeze my hands when the pain hits,” I laughed. And then laughed again. And then the laughter walked right up to the border of hysterical, mostly because Dolph Lundgren’s voice saying “I must break you” in Rocky IV kept running through my head.

But then the pain hit. I gasped and squeezed as hard as I could as the world’s largest epidural needle penetrated where no needle had ever dared penetrate before. And suddenly, Nurse Itty McLittle turned into a rock made of steel and Ryan Reynold’s abs.

Yet her voice suddenly took on the soothing murmur of a grandmother comforting a toddler with a boo-boo knee.

“You’re doing great. It’s almost over. Almost there. You’re doing fantastic, Momma.”

That’s when it hit me. No matter what happened from here on out with the birth of my first child, I was in very good hands. The very good, freakishly strong hands of a caring nurse.

And for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was going to get through this in one piece.

Bringing a life into this world, and the aftermath of that birth, whether you did it the old-fashioned way or via a cesarean, is absolutely brutal. We’re not supposed to admit this, of course. Not in our society. Oh no. Women are supposed to have an 8-pound human exit their body and then continue on their day as if nothing happened (and God help you if you aren’t back to your pre-pregnancy weight the second they cut that umbilical cord). Nevermind that your body has been stretched to the limit physically, mentally and emotionally. Nevermind that you haven’t slept, haven’t ate, haven’t been able to take a pain-free breath. Nevermind that when you tell the lactation specialist, with giant crocodile tears in your eyes, that there is a large amount of blood in your breastmilk when you pump, and her response is “oh, don’t worry, the blood won’t hurt the baby,” and your response is “that wasn’t my concern.” No. Nevermind all that.

It’s time to get over it. You’re a mom now.

I mean, it’s not like you’re a man with cold. Back to work, lady.

Part of the blame for this falls on our society in general, which has made it clear time and time again that we don’t necessarily value mothers or what they do. But another big chunk is simply that when you have a baby, everything becomes about the baby. You, your partner, your parents, your in-laws. All of your collective concern is on the baby. It is tiny. It is fragile. And even though you’ve only known it for 30 seconds, you all love it with such devotion that you would die if anything happened to it.

They’re miracles. Our own personal miracles.

How can a bloody and broken and stretched and exhausted mom body compare to that?

It can’t. Except when it came to the nurses. They’re the ones who saw me. In all the chaos, they saw me. They saw my bloody, broken, stretched, exhausted body and they took care of me.

They, for lack of a better word, mommed me.

This was especially apparent with my second baby. Because when you are a mom, it doesn’t matter if you have another child’s head emerging from your vagina at that exact moment. Your toddler will still ask you to get him some juice.

So when, after getting someone else a cup of juice no less than 1,672 times, someone asks you if YOU’D like some juice? It’s enough to make a crazy hormonal, homicidally sleep-deprived new mom cry tears of joy.

Of course, none of this is to discount what my husband and my mom and my mother-in-law did for me during this time. All three went above and beyond to take care of me, the baby, my older son, my ridiculously needy, neurotic dog and our quirky home with its weird windows and very vocal refrigerator.

I also had a fantastic doctor who got me from Point A to Point “Get This Thing The Hell Out Of Me” with grace and humor and competence.

But it was the nurses, oftentimes working quietly in the background, that need to have the spotlight shined on them.

So many of us new mothers feel we can’t complain or even acknowledge the amount of pain we are in because the gift we get in return is so much greater. And that’s where the nurses swoop in with their invisible superhero capes. They take care of us without us ever having to ask. They know we need tender, loving care even if we don’t.

It takes a special kind of person to be a nurse, I think. The kind of person who you can meet and within 90 seconds has you comfortable enough with them that you let them help you pee. The kind of person who makes you feel like you are their only patient, when in reality they are overworked, underpaid and haven’t had time to go to the bathroom themselves since 8 a.m.

I realize that for my nurses I was likely just another patient that day. But to me, they made all the difference. Their smiles, their gentle hands, their patience, their laughter, their reassurances, their ability to answer my god-awfully stupid first-time parent questions without a single eyeroll. They are how I survived those utterly terrifying first days of motherhood.

So to all the nurses out there, I want to thank you for seeing me. And I want you to know that I see you and all you do.

I see you.

And while I’ll forever be grateful to my wonderful and highly skilled doctor for bringing my children into this world, I’ll forever be grateful to every nurse who graced my hospital room door for bringing me back to life.