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Motherly Love


posted: 02/14/14

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Motherly Love | Loving your kids and how hard it is to watch them hurt.Motherhood Printable | www.wineandglue.com

Click HERE to download the print. {Click download, then print.}

It’s Valentine’s Day. So I thought I might write a post about love.


I’ve been really lucky in love. I met the love of my life when I was 18. And even better yet, he knew almost immediately that I was the love of his. I have suffered through almost no heartache in that department, just a few failed attempts at relationships and some unrequited infatuation.

My real heartache in life has come as a mom.


When Gavin was about a year and a half he started running low grade fevers nearly daily. There was no explaining them, though that didn’t stop me and the doctors from trying to get to the bottom of it. There was poking, prodding, blood draws. All of which made me feel torn and horrible. Was I bad mom for subjecting him to all of this? Or would I be a bad mom if I didn’t?


In the end it, it was probably related to his HUGE adenoids and tonsils that were removed when he was just a month past two. They told me before they took him back for the surgery that they don’t allow parents to be there when the kids wake up, but they would get us as soon as he was ready to be moved to an overnight room. When Gavin woke up he was in so much pain and screaming so much that they had me come back to the “parent free” room. He was inconsolable unless in my arms, a little oxygen mask held up to his face.

This was all horrible to watch, I often wondered if it was worse for me than it was for him (how selfish does that sound??). But of course, it wasn’t nearly as horrible as seeing Elliot suffer.

Nathan and I recently came across some videos of Elliot. We knew they existed, but we had kind of just forgotten about them. Probably put them out of our minds because it would be too painful to watch them. We watched them all this past weekend, and again, I was struck with that feeling of agony, watching your child, who you love more than you ever could imagine possible, suffer and you can’t do a single thing about it. With Elliot it was ten times more difficult because I couldn’t even hold him.


And maybe that’s why the sleep study that Quinn had to go through recently was so painful for everyone involved. There was concern about whether or not Quinn has enlarged adenoids and tonsils like her brother did, and so we had to stay overnight at the hospital for a sleep study. She was covered from head to toe in electrodes and beyond upset about it. She was so covered in fact, that she was almost unrecognizable. She was uncomfortable, she was in pain, she was beyond tired, and more than anything she was so scared. And there was nothing I could do beyond tell her that she was doing well, that I loved her, that I would be there all night long, and that it would be over in the morning.


When Quinn was a baby, she had some health issues that landed her in the ER I think four times and overnight in the hospital once. There was a lot of poking, prodding, and procedures. Some spinal taps, too many blood draws, an IV she nearly ripped out, and one procedure that left us both in a puddle of tears. Having just lost Elliot after watching nearly all his organs give out on him, I was definitely able to put it in perspective, however, that certainly didn’t lessen the heartache of watching her go through it all.

I’m not recounting all these tales for the joy of walking down memory lane (ha!) or to make you feel sorry for me or for my kids. More just because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately:  Why does this keep happening? We have visited our Children’s Hospital way more than the average family does or should. (Though I know certainly far less than so many brave souls.)

When my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, she made the conscious decision not to look at it as a tragedy. So much so that she had us pass the word to anyone who was going to interact with her. She wanted to be surrounded by positivity, not pity.

Instead, she decided to ask, “What is God trying to teach me?”

Honestly, it was kind of annoying. I was just 21, at the end of my junior year of college, and when her doctors told her that she had two months to live, I had a lot of questions for God, but none of them were asking what he was trying to teach me. Frankly, the whole situation sucked.

But really, it’s the way to go. Asking God what he is trying to teach you isn’t easy, and in my experience, it’s not very pretty, but it seems to be the way to go to mend the heartache and bring peace.

We learned yesterday that Quinn will for sure have to have surgery. So it will mean more poking, more prodding, more IV’s, and more doctors and nurses in their very suspicious scrubs (to Quinn, not me!).

And I know that this is only the beginning.

All three kids will grow up and will have immeasurable joy, and also senseless heartache and suffering. I know that watching them go through the physical pain will be nothing compared to watching them go through the loss that life can bring them. In a way, maybe I’m grateful now that my mom didn’t have to be here to watch me lose Elliot.

And as their mom, I know that it’s my job to just be here. I can’t fix it. I can’t take it away. I can’t make it about it me. I’m just here, supporting them, and stepping in to advocate for them as needed. I don’t have the answer yet of what God is trying to teach me from all of this, but I’m going to keep asking the question.

Being a mom is so hard sometimes.

Though like so many great love stories, the heartache is totally worth it.

Gavin, Elliot, Quinn, and little baby girl (who’s name we are not ready to scream from the rooftops yet) . . . I love you more than you will ever ever know. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Holly Waterfall says

    Thank you for sharing (and for making me a big puddle of tears before work… haha). You are one strong mama, and I feel your pain as we have both gone through some terrible things for our children. And there’s just nothing we can do but feel helpless and hug them a little tighter. Xander has had his fair share of procedures done, and they are some of my most horrible memories ever. I would do anything in this world to take them away from him, although I know in hindsight, they haunt me more now than they do him. I love that you reflected on your love as a Mama today, as I am celebrating with just Xander today myself. Beautiful pics as well – you have a wonderful family!

    • Lisa Longley says

      You are so right Holly. The kids go on not really remembering them, or if they do, they aren’t panic stricken by them. It’s us that hold the scars from them. Thank you for all your sweet words!

  2. Jessica says

    That is one of my very favorite quotes my friend. It’s so true too! Thank you for sharing this post – and I love your line that says, “though like so many great love stories, the heartache is totally worth it.” So true! Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your beautiful family, I love your pictures!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thank you. It is true that it’s worth it. Doesn’t make it any less painful, but yes worst it :)

  3. Melissa {Persnickety Plates} says

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  4. Meghan @ The Tasty Fork says

    Considering that I self diagnose myself on WebMD whenever I get sick, I can only imagine how every cough or fever would send me into the Dr.’s office in like 2 minutes if I had a kid. You’re a great Mom and doing what’s best for them!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hahahahaha! Yeah . . . the internet is NOT your friend when you have a sick kiddo!

  5. Trish - Mom On Timeout says

    You made me cry – again! Oh girl, I just wish I was there to give you a hug in these situations. You have been through SO much and it sounds like you’re about to go through more. I am so sorry that Quinn is going to have to have surgery. Breaks my heart – for you and for her. All I can say is that you have shown your tremendous strength time and again and you will get through this next stage as well. Praying for you and if you need anything – just ask!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I know, I’m a jerk like that, Trish ;) Thank you so much for your kind words. I know that it will be hard. But at the very least, we have done it before, and I also know we will make it through. Thank you for your support!

  6. Kellie Butler says

    My kids are now 24 and 21 and can tell me if and when something is wrong. My problem for so long was (and I didn’t realize I was doing it) was I was putting myself through the same pain that they were going through. The best thing I ever done was get perspective. I realized what I was doing and that my place was to simply be their Mama and be supportive and to be there for them when they needed me. I have had an easier time since then when they have a problem or a boo-boo (ha!) We just have to be there and be supportive. That is a Moms job!!!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yup, I totally agree with you. And yet, it’s still hard to see them hurt.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners