The pictures that aren’t in our picture books.

It was the third time she got sick that night. Holding her blonde curls back with my bare hands as to not get them in the way, I whispered in her ear….

” It’s ok baby. It will all be over soon. You are so brave and so strong. “

I repeated that phrase to each of the children as they got sick on my lap, the toilet and in the bucket set beside their beds. I was on alert into all hours of the night to be the one right by their side. My husband offered to take over, but I declined. The thought of our babies being sick without me horrified my very being.

So, I waited, I prayed. I caught things in my hand that would have horrified me ten years ago. I was in Mom mode. The sleep deprivation didn’t matter that night, all that mattered was that my babies needed their Mother.


In the darkness, reaching for the light switch, my eyes struggled to adjust to the brightness. Throw up all over the floor, her bed, and other pleasant places… I sighed. Smiled at her as to not alarm her, hugged her to assure her this would be over soon, we headed to the warm bath. You would have never known she was sick. All smiles she sang to me , and we laughed as she splashed in the bubbles. 

The break from sickness didn’t last long. Soon she was back at it. Directing her to the toilet she cried as I tried to help her understand this was a better place, as to not make a mess.

Holding her hair back, and whispering in her ear it hit me.

This is the part of Motherhood that is not documented. These are the pictures I will not have in her baby book. She will not look at this picture of her Mother in twenty years and thank me for staying up all night with her while she got sick over and over. Who will remember this moment in my life, in hers?

Me. I will.

It’s moments like this that shape us into the women we are deep inside. We become fearless and furiously loving when our children are sick. Selfishness leaves our hearts in place of protectiveness over the ones we love so dear. After all who are we meant to be for our children? A safe place, a warm embrace.

” It’s ok baby. It will all be over soon. You are so brave and so strong. “

How many times did our own mothers stay up all night, and say this same thing to us in our tiny ears? Do we have the pictures in our baby books of the first time we were sick? No, but our mothers have the memories intertwined in the way they began to love us, and as that love blossomed they printed the pictures in their minds.

Being a Mother is a creative and exhausting way to show us who we really are, what we are really , I mean really capable of. How large our hearts can become to accommodate just one more child to love. How expansive our souls are to include ten more tiny toes into our hearts.

Those pictures won’t make it into  books, but instead we will remember those nights for the rest of our time here on earth. We will love our children with a love so deep, no picture is necessary.

Our eyes will shine of a selfless love from all those sleepless nights. A glow about us as we pour our tenth cup of coffee for the day, ready for what the night holds.

Because we are undocumented Mothers. 

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