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Tummy bug leads to thoughts of what being a woman means

My daughter got married and I was asked to watch my granddaughters for the weekend for their quick honeymoon trip.

They are 11 months, almost 5 and 6 and a half years old. The 11-month-old, Ahlyiah, walks already. I guess I should say runs really. She had two big sisters to chase I suppose and she wasted no time in being able to keep up.

She’s very spunky, loves cuddles, has the attention span of a, well, 11-month-old and a tummy bug — which of course hit the minute her mother left town.

At 3 a.m., she woke up covered in something that looked like Dijon mustard. After cleaning her up — for the 20th time that day — I plopped her onto my bed and went to throw away the stinky debris when I heard a crash followed by her cries. She had a bloody nose, bit her lip and the crying induced another helping of Dijon.

By 4 a.m., she was cleaned up and she went back to sleep.

I couldn’t sleep for a good while. I was upset she got hurt. I was tired and frustrated.

I raised my own three children who were also close in age. How did I survive it? I felt like I was so much better at it then than now. I got three kids ready for school each morning while trying to get myself dressed and ready for work. Then there was homework, dinner, bathtub and bedtime. On some evenings that schedule routinely got interrupted when I got a page from work I had to go cover some event or breaking news story, and we all packed in the car and headed out.

Then my inner voice reminded me that the only difference was I was in my early 20s and am now approaching 50 in a few months. I’m just older and have to admit my energy and patience just aren’t what they were then. I’m a relatively young grandmother, to which I am very grateful because Lord only knows how I’d manage if I was 10-plus years older.

On Wednesday, International Women’s Day, many women decided to acknowledge a show of solidarity by wearing red and not working or shopping, making the world realize what women contribute.

I’m all for anything that can make women feel empowered, and to those who were able to stay home and take a day for themselves, I commend you.

However, I spent the day working as usual because my job depends on me, and then watching one of my grandchildren after work — and I happily spent entirely too much money on her.

None of that was in some defiance of a “Day Without a Woman.” I was just doing what I do.

I raised a family myself and have the blessing and privilege to spend as much time with my grandchildren as I want with them living in Oxford. I know people would notice if I wasn’t there and one day soon enough, that time will come when I won’t be.

I don’t need the appreciation of the world. I’m an accomplished woman. I’m a strong woman. I’m a woman who loves and is loved by the ones who matter most.

And after this weekend, I’m a woman with a whole lot of laundry.

Alyssa Schnugg is Senior Writer at the Oxford Eagle. Email her at alyssa.schnugg@oxfordeagle.com.