My daughter recently fell victim to the worst stomach bug I’ve ever witnessed, and the unexpected lesson I learned from this horror of a night is priceless. You know those moments when the kids are sick and cuddly and calm and quiet, and you think to yourself, "I kind of like when the kids are sick"? Yeah, this one not one of those moments.
My precious 10-year-old-daughter was her happy-go-lucky-self one minute, and praising the porcelain God just five seconds later. Every 15 minutes, she would run to the bathroom to vomit (among other uncontrollable excretions). I would follow her, hold her hair out out of her face, rub her back, clean up as best I could, and tuck her back into bed.
The final eight hours were the worst, as her body weakened from the beating this virus was dishing out. She was sleep-deprived, and she simply wanted to stop throwing up. In her young mind, she just wasn’t sure it would ever end.
She kept saying, “Mommy I just want to go to bed, but I can’t stop throwing up. When is it going to be over?” She asked me again and again. She desperately wanted to sleep. Honestly, so did I. I was exhausted from the cycle of cleaning up the mess, doing the laundry, rubbing the back, and repeating. My body was craving sleep and my sanity was wavering.
She was looking to me for some answers: Mommy, when will this stop? I needed to ease her mind. It was out of our control, and I didn’t know when it would end.
Suddenly, the words came to me: This is temporary.
“I know it feels like this is never going to end,” I told her, “but I promise you it will be over soon. You will fall asleep and you will eventually feel better and rested. The vomiting, among other things, will end.” I said that many times to her and to myself throughout those virus-infected early morning hours.
This is temporary.
As the words exited my lips, it was so certain to me: she would not be throwing up forever. Three simple words delivered a magnitude of solace. This would not last forever; four more hours of this didn’t seem so bad when we focused on the impermanence of it all. Both of our minds were eased. My daughter’s bodily functions soon returned to normal, and she was on to the rest and restore phase of the illness.
This is temporary. Three important words that ring true to any situation, good or bad. Whatever is happening right now, it is temporary.
This is my go-to mantra when the going gets tough. I speak these words to myself, to my children and to my friends when life gets challenging. It is so easy to get so wrapped-up in our problems and react to them as if they are permanent problems. Can the financial stress I am under ever truly be temporary? Can the loneliness I feel at times truly be temporary? Can the anger or sadness I feel over whatever the issue du jour is truly be temporary?
Yes, it absolutely can — and it is.
Do not let anything that is temporary get the best of you. It is easy, even as adults, to feel and react as though this problem, whatever it is, will never go away.
Stay strong and breathe through your challenges, remembering that they won’t last forever; it just isn’t possible. Believe it or not, you have the power to be your best self, even through the most challenging times.
So, the next time the ATM machine tells me insufficient funds, or I find myself nursing a broken heart, I will simply tell myself: I can’t possibly throw up every 15 minutes for the rest of my life! This really is temporary. This too shall pass.
Need more words of inspiration to get you through hard times? Check out these quotes from Princess Diana.
This article was written by Suzanne Hayes.