Today is one of the longest, busiest, most physically taxing days in my recent memory. And yet, at the end of it I feel peaceful and fulfilled and content. That sounds a little bit wackadoodle, but after I thought about it, it made perfect sense.
Upon waking this morning, I had a purpose. Assess the kids. Make the sick people comfortable. Clean up behind them. Try not to get sick yourself. Stay ahead of the trail of destruction. While there were many pieces to my purpose, there was really only one goal: Get past this. However you have to.
The method of operation has been to put out the hottest fire first, clean up the nastiest mess before dealing with the next thing, and hold who needs holding. When my mother-in-law, who was supposed to fly out this morning, showed up sick, she asked me not to hold her. In fact, I think the message was to not touch her to get near her in any way. In fact, she punched me. No, she didn’t. Surely you don’t believe a thing I say. But if I had tried to wipe her chin or pick her up, she might have punched me. And she’s strong. Some of you have seen her arm wrestle. So I didn’t mess with that.
At any rate, she got sick and the flight had to be changed. We felt really bad about that, but we don’t mind having them for another two days. Even if we do all look like death. Even if we are wearing our underfixins on the outside of our clothes. It’s all good.
Mamasboy was over the worst of it and just recovering today. AG went off to school without a hitch. I was doing laundry and trying to get ahead of the messes that come in a week like this one. Beloved woke up excited about school, but as we were about to put her in the car to go, she started crying and saying she didn’t feel good. I had already been down this road with her. She is just a teensy, tinesy, itsy, bitsy bit dramatic. And she likes to be pampered. So I was skeptical. However, given the vast amount of germ transfer going on in this family, the better part of wisdom said to keep her home. And my mom the doctor said to keep her home. So I did. And I called her a Faker. Twice. I was so sure she was milking it that I continued chopping celery after I heard my name spoken through tones of distress. But before you Tsk Tsk me to death, realize that I hear my name through tones of distress about 176 times in an 8-hr period. I believe I have earned the right to finish my celery chopping. This time it was real and the celery should have waited. She was throwing up. A lot. All over my bed. That’ll teach me to chop celery. That little move cost me an hour of laundry and an awful lot of grossness.
From that point on, I was moving in hyperdrive. There was a lot more laundry. There was four times the amount of Bowl Holding and Chin Wiping. And there was still the celery there waiting. Celery won’t chop itself, you know. The whole celery thing was part of my master plan to cook homemade chicken noodle soup today. But after Beloved fell to the Germ, there was hardly a 10 minute period without a crisis.
When I made my 6th pilgrimage to the laundry room, arms full of disease, I discovered that the detergent was gone. It had fallen behind the washer. Nice. One very stiff pair of tongs, a lot of grunting and sweating, and a stone bruise later, I had the 6th load running. Then I put on my best socks and running shoes, because clearly the barefoot route was no longer working.
I got that celery done. And the soup got made and eaten. And I enjoyed it.
And as I typed the words about being peaceful and content and fulfilled in that first paragraph, I was frantically summoned and informed that Beloved had thrown up all over my just-washed sheets. Kick in the knickerbockers. So. Load #7 is washing now and Beloved is laying on a sleeping bag covered awkwardly by a soft, green blanket. She is drinking water. And she thinks that water is going to stay down.
But I know better.
I’m sleeping in these running shoes. And I’m thinking about changing my clothes.
But my whole point to this point was GOING TO BE that the thing that makes a day like this one work is the singularity of purpose. We aren’t pulled in 1000 directions. We have one goal. Get through it and help the one who needs it most. Well, help everyone. But start with the one who needs the bowl and has the worst aim.
Oh, forget it. There’s no point to this post. But I seriously am sleeping in my running shoes. If I sleep at all.