February 13, 2014 by Julia
We keep getting hit with snow and sickness, and in this exact moment I am feeling discouraged, but let the record show that in other moments I have risen to the occasion and have been the creative, fun, positive mom that I aspire to be.
For example, last Wednesday school was canceled when freezing rain coated the entire world with ice. So we adjusted our expectations for the day accordingly. I played with the kids AND got housework done AND managed to think interesting thoughts, if not find the time to write them down. I did yoga while Fiona had a fantastic play date and Jack took a nap. It turned out to be a good day.
I thought to myself, “I have learned good coping skills. I remember way back when Fiona was a toddler and we got snowed in for nearly a week and I almost lost my mind. Now, I know how to keep the kids entertained, keep myself sustained and happy, and the house clean, all at once. Hurrah! What a great day!”
You know where this is going.
That night Fiona crawled into bed next to me at 2:00 a.m. and I figured she’d had a bad dream. Nope! Vomit. (That’s my new catchphrase.) For the first time in her young life she did make it to the toilet in time, so truth be told, it wasn’t as bad as previous nights o’ vomit. There wasn’t much sleep to be had, though, once I settled into her own room next to her with a bowl.
Obviously, she didn’t go to school that morning. And although, yes, it was another day cooped up at home with two young kids, I gave us permission to watch movies and make it an “easy” day, knowing that this was the exception, not the rule.
Friday I kept Fiona home from school again, just in case.
Friday is the day that Imagination Nurture Mommy began her gradual transformation into Crazy Frazzle Scream Mommy.
You know what was going through my mind then? “Air…fresh air…someone…please. STOP THE WHINING. Adults? World? Do you exist? AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER CLEANS UP AROUND THIS GODFORSAKEN PLACE??? My brain…is dissolving…boredom everywhere…REMOVE YOUR PINKY FINGER FROM HIS CUP SO WE DON’T HAVE TO LISTEN TO THE SHRIEKING ANYMORE” and so on and so forth. Also, I was keenly aware of that whole ‘Pride cometh before the fall’ thing and how well we’d been doing a mere two days before.
The hope that kept me going through that sludge-like day was the fact that on Saturday night I would get to go out with a bunch of beloved ladies for my official birthday outing. (I’m going for a record “three mentions of one’s own birthday within three consecutive blog posts,” here.) Now, I had emailed these ladies with a too-long message of not wanting to pressure anyone to go out, we’re all tired and cold and there are way too many birthdays this time of year. (Mamas and papas get busy in the springtime, I suppose, just like the woodland creatures.) All I really wanted was drinks, maybe dinner, and definitely karaoke, which was a major success last year. And I only expected a few people to make it out. But the crazy thing is, of the approximately thirteen women I asked, ELEVEN COULD ACTUALLY MAKE IT. If that doesn’t deserve caps in this day and age of flakes and non-planners and last-minute-cancelers, then I don’t know what does. It was a miracle.
I’m going to admit something embarrassing, because that is something every blogger should do. Saturday morning I woke up and while the kids watched cartoons I looked up karaoke songs to practice on Youtube, which I’d never done before, but let me tell you – it’s GREAT. The thing about karaoke is, the first time you sing a song without the actual singer in the background, it feels completely different and most of us non-professionals feel lame and lost. But if you practice with Youtube, you get used to the sound of your own voice, rather than, say…Axl Rose’s.
I even decided on the three songs I wanted to sing that night. (Humiliation, come right in, have a seat!) I’d decided last year that Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy” would be a good one, because it was in my range and people know it, and it’s one of those singalong anthems. So that was in. I also found that I could do Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You)” which just brings me back to the nineties and it’s really fun to sing. But the BEST most exciting song I wanted to sing, which actually didn’t sound horrible when I did it with the Youtube karaoke, was Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.” Nineties alternative/grunge/folk/rock is the best, and this song is one of the best of the best.
In the afternoon before karaoke, Fiona and I went to celebrate one of her friend’s birthdays by joining her and her parents for a big ice skating show. It was our first time out of the house in three days, and I was enjoying the company and the fresh air, but felt a vague physical unease. I figured at first that it was because Fiona and I hitched a ride with them into the city, and I always get carsick if I’m not driving. But it got progressively worse as the show went on, and by time we were driving back to their house my only wish was to not puke on the floor of their van. Still, I hoped it was only carsickness. Alas. Driving myself and Fiona home from their house, I felt so terrible – chills, nausea, headache – that I nearly accidentally drove past our own street.
I resigned myself to the worst case scenario, which was canceling on all twelve ladies a mere 1 ½ hours before our meeting time on a Saturday night. Depressed and weak, I dragged myself to the couch, and handed Fiona the iPad. (Dennis and Jack wouldn’t be home for another 45 minutes. Oh, and Jack had been vomiting all afternoon at his grandparents’ house, and he vomited once in the car with Dennis.) I considered a mass email to cancel with everyone, but figured that it was too risky – someone might miss it and then still show up. So I randomly called or texted people, some of whom were nearly as disappointed as I was. As I talked to them, I knew that these twelve people would probably never all be available on the same night again. Dramatic-sounding, but true.
I went upstairs and fell asleep, wondering – did I get everyone? Turns out I didn’t, and one old friend whom I haven’t seen in a year had driven 45 minutes to the restaurant only to find out that the reservation was canceled and no one she recognized was there. I heard my phone ringing through the fog of sickness once. Ten minutes later I heard it again, and horror creeped in enough to fully wake me. When I summoned the strength to pick up the phone and saw her name there, I said aloud, “Nooooooo!” I spoke to her and explained that I was half out of my mind, and she was more gracious and forgiving than I deserved. She said that an evening out by herself at the mall would be fun, anyway, but I could not fall back to sleep and I cried and felt horrible and texted her another long apology with promises of free drinks and groveling and servitude. It was the worst.
My stomach hurt so badly I could hardly move. I was too lonely and sad to just fall asleep, too weak to get water, so I texted Dennis, asking him to come up once he’d put the kids to bed. Anyway, it sucked. You get it.
Sunday also sucked. I felt a little better, but not well. I felt guilty for leaving Dennis with the kids all day, but I also just wanted to stay in bed. Like many a mother before me, I also worried that the house would fall apart at the seams if I took the day off. And Dennis had been counting on having some time to work at home. Meanwhile, I couldn’t stop crying. Bitterness over the denial of the fun outing that was supposed to counteract the many days stuck at home, I suppose.
By Monday morning I felt mostly better, despite the fact that I had to take both kids to the dentist and then go grocery shopping with a Jack who was whiny beyond what I thought was humanly possible. Still, I was motivated, happier, and ready to conquer the week again. Tuesday I did online training to be an assistant Girl Scouts troop leader with my fellow leaders while juggling both kids, and then Wednesday I went to the MVA to get a new driver’s license because apparently Jack took mine out of my wallet and it was nowhere to be found. I vaguely remember him trying to get into it while I was on the phone last week.
Today is another snow day, which started out promising enough – I will do yoga! I will play wholeheartedly with both children! We will go out into the snow and make memories! I will write a blog post! I will finish sorting through thousands of photos for our 2013 photo album! And then after we went out into the snow, Dennis started to come down with the family stomach virus, and all hopes of an afternoon to myself were dashed, despite the fact that I’d let him sleep until 10 am. I’m just glad I knew how bad the virus felt, so that I could summon enough empathy to be nice about sending him back up to bed at 2 in the afternoon.
Still, discouragement and exhaustion hover, waiting to immobilize me. Although I may have beaten them back a bit, with this post.
Who knows? Some days I feel wonderful. Some days I feel like this winter will never end.
Tomorrow is another snow day. I will meet it with strength and imagination.