OBSERVATIONS · poetry · slice of life

She Needs Me

In the wee hours of the morning
I hear a cry
Followed by a barking cough
It is not a seal
It is my Izzy

I spring into action
Run down the hallway
Scoop her hot body up
Hold her close
She is burning up

The plan goes into action
Down the hall is a half-made bed
Waiting for us
A blanket is unfurled
Pillows are relocated
The humidifier is moved
Schleppy the bear comes too

After an hour of pleading
For her to drink water
For her to take ibuprofen
She sleeps
But the seal barking continues
Throughout the night
She doesn’t sleep well
And neither do I

Monday’s plans change
Life is put on hold
There’s no time to stretch
Or even brew a cup of coffee
Because duty calls
She needs me

We read books
We watch TV
We play with dolls
I beg her to eat
I beg her to drink
I beg her to rest

She gives in
Willing to nap
Only if I come too
The writing project that’s due after Christmas
Will have to wait
The picture book manuscript I’m revising
Will have to wait
The TWT posts I’m crafting for this week and next
Will have to wait
She needs me

It takes her an hour
Of coughing
And sniffling
To fall asleep
I don’t dare leave the room
Instead I reach for the iPad
Hidden under the guest room bed
And begin typing
So I don’t disturb her
Already-distressed slumber

Just when I think
I could sneak away
To my office downstairs
I discover
She needs me
I sit her up
Take her hands
That are growing warmer again
Loosen what’s stuck with pats on the back
And lay her back down again

Minutes later the light snoring begins
My heart aching
Wondering what more I can do
To help my little girl because
She will need me again and again
‘Til the croup
And the cold
And the fever
Go away

22 thoughts on “She Needs Me

  1. I love the way you described how you sprang in to action, Stacey, and all the things you just knew how to do to make Isabelle’s croup as comfortable as it could be. She did need you…and everything you did (big and small) must have made her feel the warmth and comfort of a loving mom – always present, always knowing just what to do.

  2. Oh, Stacey – this is beautifully written, but it sure is breaking my heart. I know that feeling all too well of pleading and wishing they would just get better. Poor Izzy. I hope she is already on the mend. She does need you, poor thing. Feel better, Izzy! On Dec 2, 2013, at 3:18 PM, Raising a Literate Human <comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

  3. Ugh, croup is certainly a challenging illness. Your description of the bark and the change in plans is one that brings back memories….I wish Izzy a speedy recovery because there are LOTS of books to read and LOTS of Hanukkah memories to be made this week!

  4. Ah, the title alone made me tear up. I love how you sprang in to action at the bark. Those words I can feel in my chest. Still tearing up with “she needs me.” She will keep needing you again and again, which is a lovely, loving thing. Get well, soon Izzy!

  5. Stacey, I love this! Every word. It’s being a mom. It’s being in the moment and loving your daughter. Documenting such a moment…takes my breath away. I’m so sorry she’s not feeling well. Saying a prayer for a quick recovery. Take care of both of you! Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Not the barking seal cough! So sorry. Holidays and sickness. You captured the push and pull of it all beautifully. I hope your Izzy recovers quickly.

  7. You captured this awful day and night well, Stacey. They feel very long, don’t they? And on top of having to put everything on hold, there is worry. I hope Izzy is better soon!

  8. Sick child makes you feel so helpless. I love the repetition of phrases. Isn’t there a song from a musical that says “because she needs me”? Somehow that is echoing through my mind as I read this. Hope Isabelle is feeling better soon.

  9. Oh, how yo brought back memories. The Seal Bark is very descriptive and very true. I used to spend many nights in the bathroom with the shower on. I hope your Izzy is feeling better.

  10. Oh man! So many memories come so quickly to the surface with this. It was literally decades ago for me, but man, I remember. Hope Izzy is feeling better and you’ve both have gotten some much needed rest.

  11. You have beautifully captured the helpless feeling of being the mother of sick children. It is truly an aching heart. I hope both of you get the needed rest to put this “bug to bed!”

  12. UGH! These moments come too often with children. It helps us to appreciate when they are healthy. I hope she has a speedy recovery and you can get back to those ever pressing projects that are put on hold.

  13. I had a few who were croupers. I even called 911 for my youngest when we were in Florida on vacation. They said to use Vicks Vaporub. We also sat in the bathroom with lots of steam and went outside when the air was cold. I’m glad you were there for her. All else can be put on hold.

  14. Thanks all! The worst is over. We’re able to go out in public again, but she’s VERY CLINGY. She’s still not herself. The doctor said it could take a good week ’til she’s back to normal. Can’t wait for that time to arrive!

  15. You are where you need to be when you need to be there. Loved your poem, it read with an urgency that I am sure you felt. My son used to get croup too often – midnight showers were a fixture in my house. I hope this week is easier for you!

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