is it the swine?

**I sent this as an email to friends almost 2 years ago, but seems appropriate in light of the H1N1 mania! I laugh reading it. I was obviously still struggling with my place in life and staying home with young crazy boys!**

Will, Henry and I were eating lunch in a small (and I mean small) diner yesterday. I love going to this place because it is family owned and they are always so good to me when I am there. The boys love it because they can get breakfast for lunch and they bring toys to the table. Like any mother of small children, eating out is always an adventure and the timing of everything is crucial. All in all the meal was going well (or at least as well as can be expected!) Toward the end of our lunch a party of five sat down right next to us. Remember I stated that is place is small, so their table was literally 1 foot away. There was a woman (probably in her 40’s) with who I assumed was her husband and son (10 or 11 years old). An older couple joined them-which I am guessing were his or her parents. The following interchange occurred soon after they sat down…

(I must preface this by saying that we have been battling a cold in cough for weeks. Will has been coughing all of the time and I tell him maybe 100 times a day to cover his mouth when he coughs.)

Will, sitting across from me, was coughing . He did not cover his mouth or cough into his arm. The woman in her 40’s looked across the table at the older woman and states, ” I know…it is disgusting”. She said loud enough for me to hear and I knew she was speaking of Will. Something in me snapped.

I said to her, “He is three years old.”

She responded, “Well he is going to get us all sick!”

The older gentleman says, “Come on he is just a baby.” She says, “I am not talking about the baby.”

Again I state, “He is three years old and I have told him probably 100 times today he needs to cover his mouth.” Then I was on a roll!

I continued, “I am doing the best I can. Obviously you raised perfect children and you are perfect mother. Please give me some advice on how I can do a better job.”

At this she crossed her arms, looked away, and said nothing more. Who knows what she was thinking!!


Please know that I do not excuse the fact that my son was spreading germs by not covering his mouth! It was part Momma Bear protecting her cub, but mostly it was my sheer astonishment that this woman could so quickly forget what it was like to have a small child! I was shocked by the total absence of empathy.

I send this embarrassing story to you in hopes that you will know that we are all in this together. We are not perfect people, so naturally we cannot be perfect mothers. I know your hopes and dreams for your children can keep you up at night and you worry endlessly if you are doing a good enough job! Let me be the one to tell you that, “Yes, you are doing a good job”. Today I will be the one to thank you for the meals you prepare, the dishes and clothes you wash, the noses and bums you wipe, the tears you dry, the baths you give at the end of a long day. (For those of you who have older children I won’t even pretend to know the challenges you face!) You do hundreds of little things each day that go mostly unnoticed by those who live with you. I know what you do each and every day and I say….you are amazing.

**A few days later Will was diagnosed with walking pneumonia. Mother-of-the-year!**

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