I’m sitting in the press room for the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, Maryland. Hundreds of miles away my five-year-old daughter is lying in her bed, sick with the croup. The last time she had croup we ended up in the emergency room. Somehow I knew this would happen. It always does.
“We’ll be fine,” my husband told me before I left, as I ran down the list of the kids activities, projects due, dinners available and buying/packing schedule for lunches while I was gone.
This is the first time I have traveled in two years. A quick trip–in and out. Part of me was excited about getting back into the ring after all this time. Another part of me–the mom part–was falling apart at the thought of leaving my kids. It is the neverending struggle of a working mom.
And so I sit here, hanging on my husband’s every update, wanting more than anything to be there. I pepper him with questions: Did you sit her in the bathroom with warm steam? Did you call the doctor?
And I pray. I remind God that I’m here because I believe in what I’m doing–reporting on the Church’s business, God’s business.
I call home again. I hear my daughter’s raspy little voice. She tells me she’s O.K. and that her daddy got her movies and some other treats. My husband reassures me that things are fine and that they’ll be heading to the doctor soon. I tell him thanks and ask him to hug her for me.
I hang up and say another prayer. I struggle to keep my brain on the meeting while my heart is at home. Such is the life of a working mom.