Hudson, I am going toot my own horn for a minute here, but this is intended to be a eons-reaching, universal lauding of mothers everywhere. Moms are goddamned superheroes. I never realized this until my weird new superpowers started to really manifest, but now I know. I also really, truly GET the Mom tendency to overreact or be vaguely (sometimes completely) irrational about things; if you're sometimes right about something drastic, dangerous, terrifying, or awful, it must be tremendously easy to register false positives in safe situations. What powers, you may wonder, does such a commonplace hero possess? Hudson, let this be a brief guide to a few of the superhuman things that you have triggered in me.
1. Danger Detection, or, "Doom Sense." My ability to preemptively identify something unsafe, problematic, or generally dangerous has blossomed into an outrageously accurate sensor. Before your milk protein allergy was "diagnosed" (I only put this in parentheses because damn it, I caught it DAYS in advance of any medical professional), I knew there was more wrong with you than just indigestion. The day we were initially discharged from the hospital, I knew that the slight redness on your chest was more than just "something to watch," and made three different doctors confirm for me that it wasn't a big deal. Morons. Before we were even readmitted (twelve hours later), I knew you were going to be sicker than just having a fever. This power is strongly affected by sleep deprivation and hunger, however, as I tend to go into uber-doom mode when I am overtired or have dangerously low blood sugar (I refer you to yesterday, when you undergoing exploratory surgery - ultimately something minor, in the grand scheme of things - sent me into a torrent of panicked crying and pessimism).
2. Hyper-endurance, or, "Put-up-with-ed-ness." I mentioned to someone months ago that despite hating needles, I am 100% fine with the idea of blood draws or injections that in some way, shape, or form benefitted you. I needed the second round of the glucose tolerance test (which requires four blood draws at one hour intervals after the initial blood draw to establish a baseline), but whatever. I don't even know what to say about the time we've spent in the hospital, or the emotional and physical hell that has been, but I've just straight put up with it. Speaking with (or, I suppose, complaining to) some friends, I discovered that pretty much everyone thinks it's ridiculous to ask mothers "How can you do/put up with/live with/manage (insert challenging thing here)?"...and yet everyone asks. The answer is that I put up with this shit because there is no choice. It's what you do for your kid.
3. Gross thing-tolerance, or "Don't Vomit-itude." I've seen some awful shit happen to you, Hudson: truly terrifying medical crap: the stuff of nightmares: the sorts of things that I imagine any parent would sooner leap off a cliff into a pit of rusty forks, broken mirrors, and flaming acid than to see happen to their child. I've nearly passed out, nearly thrown up, nearly run screaming from rooms...but I haven't. Poo diapers and spit-up? Please. I'll take explosive diarrhea over every square inch of my bedroom over some of the other business that's happened. The complete willingness and ease with which I've processed even truly hideous things is certainly on a different scale from the norm, but I can truly understand now how my parents were able to handle me walking into their room in the middle of the night and vomiting on a pile of clean laundry (and a nice rug...and all over myself).
4. Vicious aggression towards people who don't do the right thing for/harm your kid, or the "I'll punch you in your damn face" reflex. It has been SUCH a force of will not to become furious with the people who have caused you physical pain, even when doing so directly contributed to you receiving the care you need. Sure, your surgeon is an amazing man who has not only done spectacular work on you, but who has been attentive and involved throughout your whole ungodly long recovery process, but knowing that he cut into my little boy has been enough for me to want to break his freaking kneecaps every time I see him. Clearly I haven't, but the impuse has been there. Woe betide the first kid who gives you any shit at school, on a playground, or whatever, and may some higher power have mercy on any adult who makes some kind of mistake with you, no matter how minor. My wrath will make genocide look like a friendly neighborhood BBQ.
5. Painfully accurate knowledge of people's qualification and personal merits, or "Human Quality Control." There have been thankfully few nurses who we have met through your entire stay here who have been anything less than exceptional, but there have been a few, and I have known from the second I met them that they were sub-par. I knew there was something less-than-amazing about that nurse who was taking care of you the night before we were erroneously discharged. Of course, it would have been unspeakably rude and likely poorly received to say the charge nurse "this woman seems kind of...not awesome..." but clearly I should have. The one cardiologist who I worked with throughout the one night you were home is by far my least favorite in the practice, and you know why? I don't. He just pops up on my radar as somehow not excellent. He's made a few kind of mediocre judgment calls, and even apologized for some of them, and I knew - I just KNEW - that there was something iffy about him. This is starting to transfer outward to other categories of people from just medical professionals, too, so I'm kind of excited to see how this heightened sense works in other contexts.
6. A dark, dry, and jaded twist to my sense of humor, or the "This is just how shit is" factor. This could be a unique one for me, given that I was already starting out as a "fuck this glass, of course it's half empty: that's just physics," type of realist, but I've found that my ability to look at any situation with an element of humor in my mind has become a little twisted. I can't think of any specific examples of this because it has become pathological; I don't know when I'm NOT trying to verbally lighten my sense of disenfranchisement. I think most parents pick up a little of this darkness (at least at first) due to sleep deprivation and overwhelm, but I think mine might be seeded a little deeper than that by this point. How is this a super power, you might wonder? For one, it seems to amuse the hell out of most of our doctors and nurses, so count that as a positive relationship builder. It also helps me adjust my perspective on a lot of seriously shitty things from seeing them as cosmically undeserved to instead just being part of some zany (admittedly crappy) reality.
Wow. I sound like a sort of miserable superhero, but if I'm one of countless trillions of the same thing, I suppose my powers needn't be too special or unique. I think I've seen every single mother I know manifest at least half of these, and even today, I think all six of these powers have come into play for me. I've still got the momentum to hover next to you, wrangle doctors, make polite conversation with nurses, keep your Dad as content as I can help him be, keep myself at least passably sane and clean, and manage to write. If other mothers survive this same kind of situation - but perhaps with more curveballs, other kids in tow, less of a support network, financial instability beyond ours, or worse - I am just daunted to be part of such a resplendent sorority.