Friday, September 25, 2009

An Opportunity to Mother Him

I was awoken at 3:15am this morning. It was that mommy instinct that wakes you up and won't let you settle back to sleep. I couldn't hear anything, but felt the need to go downstairs. I thought I would just lie down on the couch, maybe a change of scenery would help me get back to sleep. But, that is when I heard George whimpering...nothing loud, but very, very softly.

I tip-toed into his room, thinking he might be having another bad dream and I decided to just rub his back, hoping that would reassure him that he was in a safe place now. After a few rubs, he said, "Eye hurts.". He said eye, but he pointed to his ear. I felt his head. No fever.

Immediately, "nurse mommy" kicked into wide-awake, full throttle. I invited George to come out on the couches with me. I got a blanket and snuggled him in. Then I went for a vial of garlic oil (Lisa...I still owe you this! Maybe I have been holding on to it - unknowingly - for just this moment?)that I suddenly remembered had been rolling around my make-up drawer. I heated it up, and then gently dropped the oil into his sore ear. And then we just sat together. For a long time.

We eventually drifted back to sleep and that 5:30am alarm came much too quickly! I grumbled a little as Joe found me on the couch and said it was time to get up. He wondered what I was doing, and I filled him in on George's sore ear. George was awake, now, as well, and began talking about what he wanted for breakfast. He seemed like he was feeling better.

Joe wondered if he had ever had a cold in Ethiopia. Isn't it funny how we wonder about those kinds of thing? Are there cold viruses in Africa? Has he been sick with a cold and a cough before? Does he even know what an ear ache is? We talked about this and Joe said, "Of course he has had a cold before. Maybe he has just never been "mothered" through it before."

I realized what a difference a mother makes. A mother wakes up in the middle of the night to warm up some oil and put it in his ear. A mother sits with her son reassuring him that he will feel better. A mother doesn't complain about these moments, but actually finds peace in them.

It is heartbreaking for me to now think of all the millions of orphans who are not being mothered. No mothers hugs or smiles or pats on the back for 147 million children. What do they do at night when they have an ear ache?

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