Don wasn’t even trying to be quiet when he came storming in, with his coffee cup in hand, through the bedroom on the way to the bathroom this morning at 6:00. Somehow the little blond boy who crawled in next to me in the middle of the night was still asleep. Don wasn’t even trying to be quiet as he opened and slammed the shower door and all the drawers in the bathroom. Nor was he even attempting a whisper when he spoke. Ok, so the little blond boy shouldn’t be sneaking into bed with me in the middle of the night, and yes I should put a stop to it but I can’t because putting a stop to it means getting up out of bed and dragging myself and little blond sleepyhead back into his bed and most likely singing him a song or two before trudging back into my room and repeating steps 1 through 3 several more times. And, I kind of like it when the littlest one comes in and burrows his cold body into mine for warmth. And I like his quiet little snores and his sweet baby breath on my back. And even if Alexander was to spend an entire night in his room, in his bed, it’s not like he would actually be able to sleep through the Six O’Clock Racket for crying out loud. And so Alexander woke up all tired and groggy and not really ready to be awake. He wanted milk and Blue’s Clues. He started to cry because I told him no. I had the news on, I explained, and in 15 minutes I would let him watch. Poor tired baby cried some more. I tried to be sympathetic to him without giving in. It’s tough sometimes. Anyhow I knew at that point the day hadn’t gotten off to such a glorious start. Alexander would go to school in the morning and then, somehow, I would deal with a very cranky little boy in the afternoon. The phone rang then. It was the school, again. And again, we were going to have a delayed start. I had wanted the delayed start the day before, but not today. Today I wanted them all out. Well, all but the one who would be stuck at home with me. The cleaning lady would be arriving in a couple of hours to clean and disinfect the house. What a long morning it was too. Those two extra hours felt like an eternity. By 10:00 I was rushing the boys out the door. Rebecca stayed home. We were not going to be a second late for school. Alexander would have a whole hour of school. Yep, you read that right! Honestly, had I not so terribly desperately needed to get to the grocery store I would have kept Alexander home too. But I had to go anyway to get Christopher there. On the upside I could at least go to the grocery store without children. I did my shopping in record time and went back to collect Alexander before going home to Rebecca.
I was sitting upstairs on my bed on this laptop and the kids were in Rebecca’s room. We were waiting for the housekeeper to finish her stuff so we could all go back downstairs. And then the unthinkable happened. Don came home. Sick. Fuck, I thought. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I didn’t worry about his wellbeing and wish him well. I am a selfish and shallow ass. Instead I swore up and down. I grabbed a duvet cover (we have two) and a pillow and went downstairs. I should have been more sympathetic but in all honesty I just couldn’t. I couldn’t. Because I am exhausted. Because I am drained. Because I know. I know that after practically no breaks in 3 weeks I am not going to come up for air again any time soon. I know that despite my aches and pains the morning after I was at Death’s door I still had to get the kids ready for school, make them breakfast and actually physically get them there. And while my body ached from head to toe I still had to entertain a 3 year old, and then go back to school at the end of the day to get the other two. And make dinner, and do laundry and tuck them into bed… And then the following day operating at 50% capacity I would have to take care of three children, one with the stomach flu, all stuck inside as a result of an ice storm.
It’s 10:00 pm and the children are now asleep. But bedtime was not easy. Never is. And I am downstairs on the couch with my pillow and duvet. I’ve been munching on leftover Christmas sugar cookies, not really even tasting them and sipping a Diet Coke. If I smoked I would have smoked a pack by now, surely. Easily. I won’t sleep (again) tonight. The alarm is on and the doors are all locked and bolted. I have checked. Over and over again. But we never found drapes for this room and there are two very large windows and the sliders that look out over the back yard. The very dark back yard. The very dark and vast back yard. We have a very large house but we have no guest room. We had a guest room at the small house. So I will sleep down here tonight. With my eyes wide open. Positive that I have seen something out there. A bump in the night. I could sleep in Rebecca’s room. She has a great big bed. But she kicks and like her brothers she sleeps like a human pinwheel. So I will stay down here and feel sorry for myself. And maybe I’ll swear a little bit more. Because in a few hours it’ll all be over and another day will be upon us and I’ll go through the motions and do what I can to keep my head above water.