Remember that scene in Forest Gump where Captain Dan climbs the mast of the shrimp boat during the hurricane? As he’s getting pummeled by the wind and the rain, he shakes his fist at the sky and screams at God: It’s just YOU and ME!!!!!
That was my morning. I was marching down the stairs to my laundry room, arms full of pukey and poopey sheets, going, “DEAR GOD, PLEASE MAKE MY CHILDREN WELL AND KEEP THEM WELL!!!! PLEASE GIVE ME PATIENCE!!! PLEASE LET THIS BE THE END OF SICKNESS IN THE HOUSE FOR A WHILE!!!” That’s what I was saying out loud, my face pointed up at the popcorn ceiling (which acts as a stand-in for the Almighty in the single momma townhouse). But what I was thinking was this: “WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK, GOD??? AGAIN? REALLY? If there’s some sort of divine lesson I’m supposed to learn from dealing with all the pestilence that has befallen my home over the last few months, lay it on me, dude. I’m open. I wanna hear it and apparently I’m too stupid to figure it out on my own! Just make alla this STOP. Please!!!!”
It’s to the point — no lie — where I’m embarrassed to go to the pharmacy because I’m there so much. I actually was elated — to the point of doing a little happy dance — a few weeks ago when I walked in and remembered that the pharmacist was on vacation (because, you know, I now know his schedule). I just imagine him thinking, “This is one of those crazy hypochondriac moms who’s always dragging her kids to the doctor … what is she feeding them anyway? Drain-O?” He’s certainly about ready to call the authorities on me.
I actually texted a photo of Benjamin holding his antibiotic bottle to my boss the other week. I have missed so much work that at this point if I were my boss, I’d think I was the biggest liar on the planet.
I find myself thinking back to when I was pregnant with my first kid. There was a guy in my office who was a father of three. I remember this great little nugget of parenting wisdom that he gave me. He said: “Parenting is the great equalizer. I had lots of opinions on how people parented until I had my own kids. My daughter was pushing four and she still wasn’t potty trained. I never thought I’d be that parent whose kid would still be in diapers at that age. We went to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘Bribe her.’ We did it. So now, I have nothing to say about how anyone parents.”
I have thought of that so many times over the last seven and a half years. And lately, I feel karma kicking my ass for all the times I rolled my eyes when listening to someone’s story of their child’s latest illness and thinking, “Good Christ. Those kids are sick all the time. She must be one of those hypochodriac moms. What the hell are they feeding those children?”
And now, I will watch happily and somewhat warily as Benjamin scarfs down his third bowl of sugar-laden Cookie Crisp (all the while praying that these do not become the next cookies to be tossed) while thinking, “YES! I BOUGHT MY SICK CHILD COOKIE CRISP ON FUCKING PURPOSE! BECAUSE HE HASN’T EATEN IN THREE DAYS AND AT THIS POINT I DON’T CARE WHAT HE EATS AS LONG AS IT’S FOOD!!!”
I will try to focus on the little pockets of time that don’t totally suck in all of this — sitting on the couch with a kid on each side and doing nothing. Watching as Megan navigates to the Pandora app on my iPhone and listening as she belts out a Miley Cyrus tune that only she can hear (I heart headphones). Little B — who is getting so much bigger — curling up on me like a little pillbug and putting his head on my shoulder. And in between I’ll put straws in people’s faces so they’ll drink, clean up bodily fluids, break up fights, put on DVDs, readjust beds on the couch, start three more blog entries that will likely remain unfinished (oh, the blogs that have died on the vine in the last few months …) and try, try, try to turn this sickly little boat around. If there is a way to cure illness by sheer force of will, I’m gonna find it, blogmuffins.
Update: Just took both kids to the doc. DOUBLE STREP. They both have it. At this point, the doc thinks that B doesn’t KEEP getting it, he just never fully gets rid of it. Now they’re both on super antibiotics and if this doesn’t do the trick, we have to have a talk about tonsils. [Insert foreboding music here …]