Oh no. It’s coming. The pain. The nausea. The Mommy-Has-A-Headache Day.
My mind has quick thoughts. Food? Doors locked? Medicine? Where is my blessed migraine medicine?
I count children in my head: Max, at school. Paul, at school. Grace, home. Luke–where’s Luke? There he is. Ok.
I call Ben with a Kathy 911 call. He needs to know about my impending departure from reality. “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of everything. Go to bed.” This from a man who works so hard to rest when he comes home. Not today. I’m sorry, Honey.
I wish my bed was a restful place. But today it’s more of a jail cell. I hold on to steel bars and scream inside my head,“Be careful! Be nice to each other! I’ll be back…in a little bit. I promise!” Mommy really will be OK—-just not now as my head searches for a cool spot on a pillow.
My cell gets dark, thankfully, because any light pierces my pulsing head like an ice pick. Medicine starts to work. I glance at a dimly lit clock and count forward–
30 minutes from now….my pain should start easing.
1 hour….the ice picks should stop.
2 hours from now……..“Oh my gosh. Who’s taking Luke to soccer practice? Paul. Thank you.”
3 hours finally pass…..sweet slumber settles on me that fades my pain into a dark past.
“Mommy, are you OK?” Grace asks standing in the illuminated doorway of my bedroom.
“I’ll be fine. Soon. It’s getting better. Have you done your homework?”
“Of course. So did Luke. Do you need a glass of water?”
“Yes. Thank you, sweetheart,” I utter out of my foggy mind.
She brings me compassion in a glass of icy, cold water. My kids are accustomed to this tending of a prisoner for a day, sometimes more. They have cared for the hungry, thirsty and imprisioned long enough to understand. Every time a headache hides their mother away for a day, they have answered the call. They minister to the least of these.
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? …When did we see you sick or in prison and go visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:37-40
I praise God in my wretched state. My suffering brings them to the “last place” of being a servant–to the one who usually serves them. It’s Ok, God tells me. I have cried while in my cave of pain many times to Him to take care of my children. Every single time, He makes me see them as He does: beautiful and sweet, shepherded through my pain.
When I break free, emerge and am thankful once again, they don’t appear abandoned. Instead, all of them are fine–comforted in the knowing that I am back. For them. For always.