Would You Further Believe…

By: Jen Shoop

Would you believe that I am a “tenured” (ha!) mother to two and that still, when mini appeared sluggish on Sunday afternoon and drifted off to sleep on the couch — alarming in that she hasn’t napped during the day at home for the last year — that I found myself creeping into her bedroom at 10:03 p.m. that night to “check on her,” as I put it cavalierly, matter-of-factly to Mr. Magpie, when in fact I was solely groping through the dark to confirm that she was still breathing?

Would you further believe that I cried not once, but twice, the following day after peeling her hot body off of my own, hearing her feverishly mumble “mama sit with me” and “mama, stay here”? That I second and triple guessed whether I was caring for her in all the right ways, even though I had called not only my mother but my pediatrician for input and followed their guidance to the letter? And even though I had spent a good portion of the afternoon tricking her into drinking fluids, putting on an elaborate performance of two little elephant stuffed animals complaining that they did not know how to drink out of their trunks and that please, oh please could Emory teach them how? To drink water? From a cup? Please!

Would you believe, in short, that even when my better sense (my pediatrician) and my other half (my husband) and my guardian angel (my mother) reassured me that she will be OK and that there was nothing, really, to do but monitor her and press my cold hand to her febrile forehead and hold her in my arms all day long and give her anything (anything!) she wanted to eat or drink, that I still felt sick to my stomach and prayed for the break of day and, more importantly, a break in the fever?

When she is sick, I lose all sense of perspective. I doubt myself as a mother. I am desperate for secours, overwhelmed by the responsibility of making care decisions on her behalf, even with something as run-of-the-mill as a likely innocuous fever.

“It’s probably just a virus of some kind — this, too will pass,” I told myself. I celebrated the moments where she requested grapes, or took a voluntary sip of water, or informed me that her popsicle was “tasty, mama,” or giggled all of the sudden — “Aha! She is fine,” I cried, filtering through the fog of her illness for the stray sunbeam. But a nefarious doom crept in around the edges. I couldn’t help but conjure the one-in-ten-million kind of horror story I’ve heard in the past: “I thought it was just a cold, but…” or “Her symptoms didn’t start out that severe but then…”

When she woke me at 2:11 a.m., crying “mama” into the pitch black dark of her room, I found her drenched in sweat.

“I want it to be morning,” she said, her tiny voice clarion in my midnight disarray.

I pressed my hand to her forehead, and it was cool. Dawn had come early. I felt its auspiciousness, its turn in the tide: the world made new–and whole–again.

Her feverish interlude made literal the endless rebirth of motherhood: the the often purchaseless angling for percipience (“we did x and he slept y hours…let’s try it again, maybe he just likes z…”), the exhaustion-tinged hopefulness for a better tomorrow, the Sisyphean cyclicality of routines — all of it the endless loop of motherhood, with daybreak and its promise a constant beacon.

Post Scripts.

+Another parenting “would you believe…?”

+Our bedroom rug is on sale! (A full roundup of our furniture/decor here.)

+Having a hard time saying no to this dress for summer.

+Agua Bendita vibes for less!!!

+This blazer is RLY good.

+Though we went with this Thibaut floral for our living room cushion covers, I also considered this similar Schumacher and this star-print Peter Dunham. I’m glad we went floral but I really love that star print — maybe for a playroom in the future.

+A well-reviewed reading lamp if you’re still into hard copy reading.

+CHIC swimsuit. I’d feel like a proper lady in this.

+Love these personalized towels as a gift for a new baby. (More gift ideas for new moms and their new babies.)

+Dead over this lampshade for a little boy’s room. I wish we had a space for it in Hill’s nursery! Check out the entire collection — also love these teal toile shades!

+LOVE Virginia peanuts and this flavor makes my mouth water. A good addition to your pantry for last-minute guests / an impromptu hostess gift.

+Obsessed with this coat in the white color!

+Cute way to display pens on a desktop. (These are my favorite.)

+A great coat to buy now on serious sale for next winter. I wear a similar one every single winter.

+Another fantastic sale score — pair with captoe flats for work for a Chanel vibe.

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8 thoughts on “Would You Further Believe…

  1. I’m glad that mini is feeling better and that your frayed heartstrings are healing (though now it’s weeks later, ha!) As always, you capture the heart-rending qualities of parenthood so beautifully.

    That swimsuit from Net-A-Porter is tooooo good. LOVE IT! I also like that little pot from J.Adler for pens … chic! I use one of those New York deli-style coffee cups, but in ceramic 🙂 I think I picked it up at MoMA back in the day! It’s a small reminder of my former home. xx

  2. I just stopped by Club Monaco on my way home from work and picked up that great coat – thanks for the recommendation! Question for you – I am normally a puffer girl in the winter (in Boston) – when do you wear your similar coat? Is yours a similar length? I am 5’4″ and am not used to coats that go past my knees, but this one was so cute that I decided to give it a shot!

    1. Hi! YAY! So glad to hear this. I wear mine basically any evening when I’m going out to dinner (the puffer feels more daytime / casual) unless it’s REALLY COLD (like under 20 degrees), in which case I will sometimes wear the big puffer because I’m too practical not to. And I also wear my wool coat during the day when I want to feel a bit more polished/pulled together — so I swap out my GG sneaks for proper flats or heeled booties and throw on my wool coat and go. It’s just a different, more elegant/put-together/dressed-up vibe. To your question on length: I’m unafraid of a slightly long length! I think it looks elegant!!

  3. Jen, I felt this so deeply– when they are sick, the enormity of our responsibility becomes so clear. These little people are dependent on us for absolutely everything- their actual survival depends on our good choices. That fact is so overwhelming that it can cause anyone to question their instincts… I mean, we weren’t trained for this! They just let us walk out of the hospital with a live human being and wished us luck! But at the same time, when I look at either of my children as a reflection of my mothering, I feel such an enormous sense of pride and, as Denise said above, the most pure love. In those moments I am struck that being the mother to these girls is truly what my life was meant to be about. Thank you for capturing these sentiments so eloquently as always and glad mini is on the mend!! We have had some nasty bugs in our house too.

    1. Yes – exactly! It is so overwhelming and terrifying. I always feel like I’m scanning for “the adult” in the room who will step in and tell me what needs to be done. But that’s me. AHH!

      Thanks for writing in…so glad other moms relate 🙂


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