Hurricane Plants

Yes. Hurricane plants.

Do you know the ones I mean? When a storm’s coming, a hurricane plant turns itself inside out so all that’s visible are the white undersides of the leaves. It’s disconcerting, foreboding, even, to feel the wind and see the purple-black sky and watch those plants curl over themselves, tucking under that shell. Google says they’re philodendron, but I thought they were hibiscus or some kind of palm. I should ask my mother. She would know.

Dane’s been sick for two weeks with no sign of abatement. His illness is changing, sure, but we’re progressing from one kind of bad to another, instead of into varying shades of better. His issue is not life-threatening. It’s not chronic, nor will it scar him or change his health outcome in any way. He has a nasty, untreatable virus that’s having some nasty aftereffects, and by the time we go to the beach in July, the whole episode will be a blip on the screen of an otherwise sunny spring. But. BUT.

I’m crouching over him anyway. I’m in the right now, and I’m tired and worried and there’s nothing I can do to help. We just have to have patience, which, as you may imagine, isn’t in my wheelhouse. My grandfather wasn’t the only rustic frontier-independent Texan in my family. You get in the way of my child, and like any good parent, I will move you. Only you can’t move a virus. Reason it off a ledge. Threaten it with a broken beer bottle (Stay green, Ponyboy. Stay green.). You can’t make a doctor, or drug, or your mother or husband, fix something when the only solution is time. And most importantly, I can’t fix him. Instead, I’m curled over him, not because I’m mother of the year or because I reasoned out the answer in a spreadsheet, but because it’s the only thing I know how to do. I feel like a failure. Helpless. And let me be clear. That helplessness? I HATE IT.

I’m not asking for sympathy. I know there’s much, much worse out there, and there are much stronger people who deal with those problems. Dane’s virus will pass and he’ll be back to picking up earthworms and rushing toward the future at lightspeed, and I’ll flip over some leaves and signal the bartender for another drink. But for now,  I’ve tucked this baby under me and we’re just waiting, and praying, for the weather to pass.


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61 thoughts on “Hurricane Plants

  1. That’s such a challenging position to be in and most of us mothers understand exactly what you mean. It’s hard not to feel guilty for feeling that way when you turn on the television and there’s a father helping his daughter through amputations caused by a flesh eating disease. Still, your feelings are valid. Your baby is sick and your heart will not rest until he’s better. It’s like the labor pain of motherhood that exists outside of birth. We know it will pass but while you’re in it, you can’t help but want to scream.

    May God walk next to you with his hand on your shoulder as you go through this and may your baby boy make a speedy recovery!

    • Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. I’m sorry this is so late in coming but I want you to know how much I appreciate your kindness. Thank you!

  2. The worst moments in my life are when my baby is sick, because I can’t MAKE it go away. I’m sorry you are in the middle of it right now, and I can just hope that time goes faster for you guys so you’re on the well side.

  3. I react the same way with all my kids. My two “Healthy” kids and the heart defect child. Virus’s and cold and flus break my heart. I hate that I can’t make them better.

  4. Hope you are on the other side soon. I love how you captured what will be a “blip.” Ellen

    • Thanks – every time I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, it blinks out again. But then I have to remember – this is nothing, comparatively. Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. Awwh I know the feeling I hope your little boy is well soon again. I was fascinated by the hurricane plants we don’t get hurricanes in South Africa.

  6. oh, these moments are just so hard, and raw in the moment…i had those this winter with my daughter. so. so hard. Loved this: “You get in the way of my child, and like any good parent, I will move you.”

    • Thanks. 🙂 An unexpected side effect of parenthood is that it’s returned me to my days of being a semi-bad-ass. Or at least speaking my mind. Loudly.

  7. Oh, girl. Blessings to you and that sweet baby. I know this feeling well. There is nothing worse than the worry for your kid and the waiting for a hurricane to hurry the hell up and pass. I hope you are ALL feeling better soon.

    • Thanks so much. I know there are so many worse things, but somehow in the moment I can’t seem to keep things in perspective. Thank you, motherhood.

  8. I hope your little guy gets better soon. It might feel like you are doing nothing by being with him like that, but to him, I’m sure you are. He’s lucky you are there with him. There’s nothing like a Mama when you are feeling bad.

  9. Your content, of course, is sad. Poor little guy. And I feel the agony of your helplessness. I feel that due to your lovely writing. I love the opening with the hurricane plants. Great metaphor. I hope Dane improves quickly, and I hope you continue to write these beautiful vignettes. But, about Dane enjoying earthworms or swimming in the waves, something joyous. I’m sure you could do that just as well.

  10. Well, I’m sorry Dane is sick, but I’ve got to go to your metaphor b/c I thought I was the only one who noticed that thing about the leaves on trees – in midwestern thunderstorm season, when the air stands still, the sky turns greenish gray, and then suddenly, there’s a breeze, the leaves all flip over and go all silvery…and then you know all hell is about to break loose. I love that moment. Curl over your kid, rub Vicks Vaporub all over his little chest – it doesn’t really “help” (sez my pediatrician) but it FEELS like it helps, and it SMELLS like it helps, and so then I feel like am doing something even when I can’t do something.

  11. Ugh. So sorry.. When Daniel had his tonsil surgery this past summer, I knew in my head he’d be fine. It was really horrible waiting it out though. You don’t want to see your child in pain, have to give him heavy pain meds round the clock, see him suffer..Not cool. I feel ya..I hope he’s better soon.

    • Right? The waiting part is the worst – it doesn’t matter how rational i am, motherhood still seems to bring out the most emotional, ferocious-angry woman I’ve ever been. Also, I am so living through you right now – Greece in May! Why not? 🙂

  12. Even before the Ponyboy comment, I felt your pain.

    Yes. As a mother. I will MOVE you. Don’t mess with my babies.
    (Okay. They are almost 15 and almost 13. But I still protect them. It’s the law.)

    I hope your sweet boy is feeling better soon.
    Really. For all of your sakes.

    This too shall pass.

  13. Pingback: There’s Something About Harvey | SmushyFace, Baby


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