My daughter came home sick from school on Monday, and she won't be returning this week. It's most likely just a virus, but one that has given her a very high fever for several days--the type of fever causing her to hear and see things that weren't there. It was a little scary (for both of us), and the worst of it was when we went to see the pediatrician on Tuesday evening and nurses kept peeking in with concerned looks and cold compresses. An hour and a half later, after some Motrin and a juice box, the kid was practicing piano. It's been a strange one--seemingly over it, then not, apparently horribly ill, then not.
In the midst of my concern for my daughter's health and trying to make her as comfortable as possible, I still was trying to finish putting together my final project for the 12-week photography class I'd taken. The final class, with the presentation of all final projects, was Wednesday night. Somewhere around mid-afternoon Tuesday, it became apparent that my attendance at the event was by no means guaranteed.
I feel like a better parent would have been ok with that. A better parent would have been happy to sacrifice something superficially unimportant because of a sick child. But I really wanted to be there. Really, really wanted to be there. I'd enjoyed this class--something I'd always wanted to pursue--immensely and had learned a great deal. I'd spent many hours and involved several friends in my final project, and I wanted to share my work. I also wanted to see what my classmates had done.
It's just a hobby. It shouldn't have been so important to me. But it was. And then I began to feel guilty.
Fortunately, my daughter was feeling significantly better by class time. I wouldn't have left her with a babysitter, but I felt that my husband could hold down the fort for the few hours I'd be gone. He juggled his work schedule to help me get there, and I was tremendously appreciative. Some of my classmates did amazing work, and it was exciting to see it and discuss it with them. Because it was the final class, it also was nice to chat briefly after class with these people I'd gotten to know through their photographs. I didn't miss anything at home, and I wasn't needed. I didn't need to feel guilty at all.
And yet, I still do. Should I? I don't know. I suppose you can be the judge.
Both kids are in bed now, and I have a long list of things to do. Laundry, Christmas shopping, Christmas cards, holiday baking, just to name those things on the top of the list. I may get to them later. Anticipating one more day home with a very interactive home-in-an-abundance-of-caution little girl, I'm going to snatch more me time while I can. The first things on my agenda are a beer and an episode of Grey's Anatomy. After that, maybe I can get something done before catching up on all the sleep I missed. A better parent would shop for her kids' Christmas gifts, but I'm just going to veg out. I have to admit, I don't feel guilty about that, but a little part of me feels guilty for not feeling guilty or doing a better job to catch up on things.
Perhaps it's just the fatigue talking, but I do feel like many of the mothers I know feel guilty about one thing or another. Too much of this, not enough of that. Why is that? And am I a crappy mother for being concerned about attending a continuing ed class when my daughter was burning up? I don't have the answers for these questions. If you do, I'd appreciate if you'd share your wisdom. If you need me, I'll be the one in front of the TV.