So help me if anyone claims that they're not a parent who worries about their child. That person is lying. There's an entire spectrum of worry that is ripe to be addressed at any given moment of any day. Or night. Around this here house of late, there's been a little bit of day and whole lot of night.
We're in the trenches with the mostly-okay-except-for-snotty-noses-during-the-day-but-all-kinds-of-unexpected-twists-of-nasty-and-scary-at-night kind of a cold.
Whoever failed to tell me prior to popping out the first one that waking up in the middle of the night to take care of a child even after they're no longer tiny and needing to eat or have a diaper changed should be tried for treason, to the maternal order of women. No. The night time duties never end. What did end, however, is my ability to sleep beyond 4 hours at a stretch, it seems. When one kid is sleeping, the other one feels the need to gag/puke/cough interminably/scream/wail/beg for parental solace. And they trade off, spread that good cheer around. AND, when the stars somehow align and they're both sleeping comfortably as of late, the cat finds a long lost toy and sets up some sort of caterwaul. Apt word choice there if you've ever roomed with a cat and a milk ring.
All the sickness, snottiness, cough-iness, and struggling to breath-iness is a bajillion times worse at 2 a.m. As a parent, you feel bereft of the ability to help, unable to do anything except offer a hug and a soft word. A quick prayer to please not let this child die tonight. I'm that parent now.
I'm the parent who can't sleep for straining to hear my baby cough over the monitor, trying to ascertain if the timbre of the cough has changed, if it's more phlemgy or still dry and barking. I'm the parent who pulled out the sleeping bag and blankets so that I could lie on my daughter's floor, listening in person to her labored breathing, scared beyond scared of what I couldn't control--a nasty, gag-inducing cough. I'm the parent who used to swear up and down that I would never be able to handle puking and that's what husbands are for, only to find myself being the one trying to furiously clean the sick out of her long, thick hair in the middle of the night.
I'm terrified of SIDS. I'm fearful of sounds that I don't understand. I worry about the slightest changes.
Every night since my children were born, I have checked on them each night before I go to sleep--listening for their breathing and feeling their forehead to see if they are feverish. Every night. And each time, I hold my breath until all is well. And then I can breathe too. Thank you, thank you, thank you...all is well for one more day.