Why I’m a Terrible Mother

posted by Momo Fali on June 23, 2009

I was sick yesterday. Really sick. Dizzy and exhausted with a horrible headache that is still lingering today. I thought, maybe, it was the case of beer I drank while camping over the weekend. Until my daughter came down with it too.

My daughter rarely gets sick. She is going into the fifth grade and hasn’t thrown up since March of her second grade year. And, I better not have jinxed myself by typing that.

The fact that she doesn’t get ill very often makes this story even worse. This one event guarantees I will never win Mother of the Year.

In August, 2003 my husband won a fun-filled, family trip from his employer. He received four nights in a nice Cleveland hotel, four tickets to Cedar Point (the world’s best amusement park…just sayin’), eight tickets to Sea World (which meant we got to go two days in a row), four tickets to an Indians game and a fully-paid dinner at an expensive restaurant.

We drove up to Cleveland on Wednesday, August 13. The morning of the 14th, as we were preparing for our hour-long drive to Cedar Point, my daughter complained of a stomachache. By the time we got to the amusement park, she had a fever. I gave her some Tylenol and she did her best to have a good time.

Late that afternoon the power went out at the park. Luckily we all had our feet firmly planted on the ground and because we had been there for over six hours, my daughter was sick, and we still had two days at Sea World ahead of us, we decided it was a good time to leave. We hopped in the car and started to look for a gas station, as our car was nearly on empty.

Only problem? Every gas station along the highway back to Cleveland didn’t have power either. And, when we made it back to our hotel on the fumes of the gas tank we realized there was no electricity there…oh, and no water either.


By this time, my daughter was feeling very, very ill. A friend who lives in Cleveland brought us a small amount of gas and despite my daughter’s stomach pain, headache and fever, we dragged her to Sea World (they had power) the next day in hopes it would take her mind off of it.

We did the same thing the day after that, even though she was still feeling sick. We went to the restaurant that night and she wouldn’t eat a thing. We then went to the Indians game, where we stayed for maybe two innings before leaving because she felt so bad. That evening, she was pathetic and so horribly sick that we almost took her to the hospital.

On Sunday morning, as we were returning to Columbus, she was feeling better, but I started to feel sick. By the time we got home two hours later I was in such pain that my husband took me to the emergency room. I had all the same symptoms as my daughter, but I was only sick for a short time before I knew there was something really wrong.

After a couple of hours and a few tests, including a spinal tap, it was determined that I had viral meningitis. Not the kind that kills you, but still. I spent the next four days in a dark room until my symptoms improved.

That’s right, we had been dragging our daughter around amusement parks for three days, in the August heat, during the great blackout of 2003, making her stay at a hotel that didn’t even have ice or a flushable toilet and she had meningitis the whole time.

It’s six years later and I still feel guilty.

    Comments

  • Karen MEG


    Oh geez, I'd still feel guilty too. Mind you I feel guilty if I forget to send my kid to school with his bottle of water.

    Your daughter was quite the trooper! And how the heck were you to know that's what she had, with kids it's often just a nonserious bug that works its way through their system. 9/10 of the time they've just been sent home from the pediatrician with nothing anyway.

    I've thrown up twice in my life… once in grade 2 and then again when I was about 30, while I was drunk bragging about not throwing up since I was 7…

  • Single Parent Dad


    Crikey, not an experience you are going to forget in a hurry. But that only puts you out of the running for 2003.

  • Tom


    I hope you don't let on, or she'll never stop holding it over your head.

  • anya


    Kids are way tougher than we are when we are sick!

  • geeksinrome


    ouch, that is bad. But my kids are still too young (and my track record too short) to have done reached your level yet.

    I only once left my infant daughter sitting on the kitchen floor while I turned my back for a second (never again!!) as she pulled on the electrical cord of a 1000 lb. glass blender and the motor base. It grazed her forehead and crashed to billions of pieces all around her.

    How many near-kills are parents responsible for per year??

  • ♥georgie♥


    I have some verrrry similar stories-so we can sit together and congrat the other moms of the year-we can toast em with a beer
    😉

  • Angella


    Oy.

    In your defense, kids are somehow able to pull themselves together and carry on a lot better than adults can.

    🙂

  • Ann in NJ


    Motherhood comes with guilt. Sometimes it's big, sometimes it's small. I think I would have done the same given the circumstances. Sometimes it's hard to know how sick they really are. We had a friend who was an ER doctor. He said he could spot a case of dehydration across the room – but he saw a couple every day. Parents only see their own kid. We don't always recognize symptoms because we don't know what to look for (no matter how many books we read). Bottom line? You both survived.

  • Lisa@verybusymomwith4


    Hey what doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger. You just made her SUPER STRONG 😉

  • Middle Aged Woman


    Yeah, that's worse than when my son broke his arm, and I told him to butch up and get over it already. What? I thought it was just bruised.

  • Wonderful World of Weiners


    I suppose laughing at this story is NOT the reaction I'm supposed to have??? 🙂

    Thanks for the vote of confidence on the raffle.

    I think it's great so far but I need more people to enter!!!

    Can I leave the link to my blog and the fundraiser???

    Please???

    http://www.firstgiving.com/hallietwomey – fundraiser link

    http://wonderfulworldofweiners.blogspot.com/ blog

    Come on over and enter to win approx. $3000.00 worth of stuff.

    Even a dollar helps!!

    Hallie

  • Tenakim


    wow- but did she have fun?

  • Moonshadow


    So did she ride all the rides? Spreading germs on all the hand grips people grab on to save themselves?

    I think you got your payback for dragging her out when she was sick by getting sick yourself.

  • Devri


    hmm- sounds like me! lol

    good thing time goes on huh!

    hey did you enter my blog giveaway for a free IPOD Touch yet, if not, why not. tee hee

  • the new Mrs. C


    I love a Mom who can share those f-up stories of motherhood. I have a few myself. That's what we Moms need to hear, we are not all perfect, and parenting is the most challenging thing you can hope to do. That's why it's also the most rewarding. And no one is exempt from stupid parenting tricks. I was a Montessori teacher for a few years, and had parents who were pediatricians who did the most amazingly stupid stuff with their kids. My three boys are grown now, and survived my parenting just fine. Yours will too.

  • Kim


    But she hasn't been sick in forever..you scared her into never being sick again..

    WIN. in my eyes..

    **ps-edited to say that I can only imagine the guilt.. that is not fun at all.. but think of the laughs when she gets older..

    ***pss- some of the comments made me scratch my head.. I was all "what? really?"

    ****psss- you are a kick ass mom..

  • James (SeattleDad)


    Why let a little bout of Menengitis get in the way of a good time. I'm sure she still talks with reverie of that trip.

  • Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog


    Oh man… Well. At least you can pinpoint the exact moment she started to need therapy as an adult, right?

    Just kidding. I probably would have done the same. I mean, you had TICKETS for cryin out loud!

  • meleah rebeccah


    I would still feel guilty too! Poor thing!

  • Ed


    Oh, your daughter's been sick since—she's just too afraid to tell you!

  • Ed


    I meant that in the most sarcastic and poking fun sort of way–it's difficult to convey a joking tone in a comment.

  • WeaselMomma


    ouch. Yes, you definitely get the Mother of the year mug. Don't worry you get to pass it on just as soon as you find someone who screws up bigger.

  • Jason


    Oh my. Hopefully you both get to feeling better soon this time…

  • Gertrude Groggins -


    Yes, we spent 5 days telling our middle child that we were sorry she had such a bad migraine, but she was just going to have to rest and get through it… ended up being viral meningitis. I share your guilt…

  • Oscar


    Oh nah… You just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. If you knew it was that, you would have stopped then. and usually things like that pass quickly. I wouldn't say you're a bad mother, just not a doctor.

    🙂

  • AlisonH


    Yowsers. Had that two years ago. Not fun, and yet, it's not always so bad you can't keep going; I basically did, and it sounds like she kept up like a real trooper. Good for her!

  • Tara R.


    Bless your heart. You didn't know, couldn't have known. Stop beating yourself up. If you're like most us moms, you'll top that sometime in the kids' lives.

  • Marinka


    I can't believe that you and your daughter each drank a case of beer.

  • Mum-me


    Your daughter must be the sweetest, most uncomplaining child on the face of the earth. If my child was that sick not only would I know about it, my whole family would know and the whole street would hear about it too. But then she is a real softie and cries when she gets a paper cut.

    Don't feel bad. Does your husband feel bad about it, I wonder? Us mothers are so hard on ourselves, aren't' we?

  • Michelle


    Welll, ya know… until you walk a mile in their shoes, you never really know how bad it is. Oops.

    Fingers crossed this illness isn't nearly so bad.

    I remember the days spent at Cedar Point. My parents lived in Dublin for awhile, and I had fun visiting them. It's been years since I've been there though. I'm thinking family road trip one day. That and Hershey Park. And King's Island.

  • OhCaptain


    Yikes!

  • Heather


    I'm totally chuckling, mainly because I seriously would do something like that. Just be glad that she doesn't know (right?) otherwise she'll be like me and HOLD IT OVER YOUR HEAD FOR LIFE.

    😉

  • the planet of janet


    ouch!!!

  • midlifenatalie


    wow! i totally know that guilt feeling. poor thing. it's amazing what little troopers kids are though.

    i have a new blog now. i'm keeping the old one, but i am going to try to comment from the new name from now on. feel free to visit both if you'd like.

  • Julie in PA


    I feel your pain! After Christmas, my son came down with what I thought was a stomach bug. I didn't take it too seriously because I had just been sick the day before with horrible stomach pain also. Well, it turned out he didn't have what I had, instead he had appendicitis. By the time I realized it was something more serious, his appendix had ruptured!

    I guess with kids it's just hard to know how serious something really is–but that somethow doesn't help ease the mom guilt!

  • Aunt Juicebox


    I think all parents have one of "those" moments. I mean, who would have thought viral meningitis?

    I still feel guilty about the time my daughter got attacked by her grandmother's cat, and that was nearly 12 years ago. I still think there must have been something I could have done to prevent it, if I were a better parent.

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