It was the phone call that no mom ever wants to get.

“Grant just threw up his breakfast.” 

Uh oh. 

I glanced at my schedule for the day and felt my heart sinking. 

All I wanted to do was rush home to be with my son, but — as a physician — it’s not always possible for me to just “skip work.” 

My son is the center of my world, but the reality is there are other people who need me to care for them, too. I have patients, staff and bills—office and household—just like everyone else. 

If I go home, then people don’t get to see their doctor. 

If I don’t go home, then my son doesn’t get to see his mom. 

Kind of sucks, no matter what. 

I know that I’m lucky. I have a nanny who is flexible. My husband is a farmer and land broker. He was done with harvest, and while real estate keeps him very busy, he has seasons when he can be flexible too. We have family in town who could help out in a pinch. 

I’m also lucky that Grant is pretty healthy. We haven’t missed much school. We had to miss Thanksgiving Day a couple of years ago, and this year New Year’s Eve was a bust. 

But my fingers are always crossed! 

Happily, on that particular day, luck was in my favor when I got the phone call. 

A patient cancelled an afternoon appointment, and I was able to shuffle a few things around and finish earlier than expected. 

My husband and I did the trade off at home later that morning. Grant and I spent a beautiful, quiet afternoon together. He’s very graceful when sick and usually aims pretty well in the little bucket. When he was awake we were reading books, cuddling and talking quietly, with no TV or loud music. (He was very excited about being allowed to drink as much ginger ale as he wanted!) 

I loved the “sick day” that we shared, but I also know that sometimes that’s not the way it’s going to unfold. 

Sometimes Mom needs to work. 

This has been difficult for me to accept, but it’s the truth. 

Rather than fighting the truth, I am learning to accept it. 

My son will always be my central focus, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do to help him be the happiest, healthiest child he can be. 

I know that Grant is probably a little too young to understand right now, but someday I hope he will grow up to share the values that I hold. 


Values like: 

“Treasure your family.” 


But also: 

“Ask for help.” 


And: 

“When your commitments conflict, just make the best choice that you possibly can, get the help you need… then forgive yourself and let it go.” 


I’m still working on the “forgive / let it go” part. 

Getting there. 

In the meantime, I will treasure every chance that I get to be “mom.” 

And I will make sure that Grant knows I love him, even when I am being “Dr. Mathison.”

~ Dr. Sue