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.
there was quiet and calm. All three kids were back in school yesterday. I was back home by 9:00 and the house was still. Dirty but still. The hustle and bustle and chaos from the holidays was behind us but the remnants left in the wake were still there. I vowed to get the house all tidied before Alexander got home from school. In a madwoman pace I cleaned all the downstairs floors, vacuumed and Swiffered (I’d leave the real mopping for the housekeeper to do on Thursday.) I put away all the bottles of wine and champagne and sodas and seltzers and mixers. I brought all the bowls and platters back down to the basement. I emptied the dishwasher. I loaded the dishwasher. I did many, many, many loads of laundry throughout the day. By 10:15 the house looked halfway decent and I decided that with an hour of freedom left I would stop everything and enjoy it. I made myself an English muffin and a fresh pot of coffee so that I could indulge in a cappuccino. Martha Stewart was on television. I half paid attention to her as I scanned my emails and read my friends blogs. When the coffee maker let me know she was all done percolating I made my beverage and brought my warm mug and hot buttered English muffin into the family room and settled in to the couch. The English muffin was divine. The hot melted butter seeped deep into the crannies and was the perfect salty flavor. Each bite a perfect amount of crunchy and soft. My coffee was super hot. I like it that way. I like it almost too hot to drink. I sip it and linger over it and really enjoy it. I like my coffee sweet in contrast to the salty muffin. I was sad when my breakfast was over. There was one English muffin left and I knew exactly what I was going to have for breakfast the following day. Eventually my hour ran out. And while Alexander and I had a perfectly enjoyable afternoon my hour had run out. My first hour of freedom in over two weeks. Gone like that. In a blink of an eye. And spending the day on Sunday in bed sick unable to move doesn’t count. Well it does in that it could have been a workday and I would have had to have looked after the kids (one at least) while at death’s door. So it counts. But it doesn’t really.
My kids went to bed with their pajamas on backwards and inside-out. They flushed ice cubes down the toilet and slept with spoons under their beds. Yes they are strange children. But apparently this is the universal code for creating a snow day. It is? It is! Where have you been? I assured them there would be no snow day and they were just being silly. The ice cubes had been flushed. I let them sleep in what looked to me to be very uncomfortable bed ensembles. But I took the spoons. I did not want my good spoons missing. I kissed them all good night and headed downstairs. As much as my kids wanted a snow day I, admittedly, wanted a delayed start. I wanted my kids, all three of them, out of the house, but I wanted to get them ready at a more leisurely pace. And I too went upstairs with some ice cubes… Well, not really!
I was up into the wee hours of the morning composing emails to important people and chatting via email with my friends — mostly those on the West Coast who were still awake. Eventually I crawled under the covers only to be awakened a few hours later by the high pitched shrill of the phone. It was a message generated from the Head of the children’s school telling me there would be no school today. Ah good. Back to bed. What? No school? As in none at all? Surely this was some mistake. I turned the TV on to our local Channel 12. Alas, it was no mistake. It seemed that the towns directly on the coast all had delayed openings and those towns further inland did not. Children come from a great many towns to attend this school. I am grateful for my Head’s caution and care of the safety and wellbeing of her students, but… but… but what if I pretended I didn’t know school was closed and just, well, drove there and left them?
And isn’t it funny that on those days when there is no school that everyone is up before the roosters? Amusing, I know. Alexander was begging to watch children’s television. So there I was snuggled up in my bed with my warm coffee and I was stuck watching not Joe as I would have loved, but Blue! I had the feeling that this was going to be the start of a very, very long day. By 10:00 Rebecca was telling me that her stomach hurt. I told her to go to sleep. An hour later I was in her room on my hands and knees cleaning up after what would be many messes today. Outside everything was coated in ice. It was spectacular, each small branch, each blade of glass seemed to be enclosed in its own special Waterford case. I could have stared at the magnificent beauty outside my window all day long. But I couldn’t. I had to keep Alexander away from Rebecca. And I had to keep Christopher away from the TV. And I had to get him to finish his book report and math homework and spelling homework.And I never did get my English Muffin. Christopher had it with Nutella slathered, warm and gooey, all over it. And I had to change sheets and do yet more laundry. And I had to make lunches for those who were eating. Tonight those who are eating can have leftovers. And now that Christopher is downstairs with his father working on his many thousand piece Lego project and Rebecca seems to be a little better I can sit and relax. I am so proud of Christopher for doing all that work, a good bit for just being in second grade. I know he must have been bored today. Good, he’ll be excited to go back tomorrow! I have been sharing some apple slices with Alexander and once again Blue’s Clue’s rules the roost. But it’s okay because the day is almost over. Rebecca will have to stay home again tomorrow but the boys will be back in school. It’ll be just Rebecca and me in the morning before Alexander comes home. That’ll be nice. We’ll enjoy our time together. And then maybe, maybe on Friday there will be some peace and quiet around here again, if just for a little while! Friday’s not so far away. And a glass of red wine is a lot less far than that!