I sat in a bathroom stall and opened my Diet Coke and I wheezed. My breathing was short and labored, but I didn’t really care. I just needed 5 minutes. 5 minutes to hide, regroup, and suck down some Diet Coke. I’ve been 6 months without it ( mostly), but I caved. Since Christmas break it has been the longest three months or so it has felt. My daughter has missed 19 days of 1st grade since January. My son has missed even more days of daycare. Sickness came and has never left our house. This doesn’t include the random snow days, the early releases, etc. She’s probably not been a full week since before Christmas.
Having two sick kids for 3 months on and off has been very humbling. I can’t describe it. As expected in motherhood, I’m sleep deprived. I’m running on “E” and trying like hell to keep everyone going to where they need to be all while trying to work full-time, run my Dad’s small business, and trying to keep my goal of service to others. Basically, when you are in your mid thirties you have never been busier.
On Sunday my daughter’s cough became croupy and tight. I suspected all along we were on this route on Friday. She was short tempered and her eyes were dark and she was extremely hyper. Sunday night she coughed all night long. The cough syrup and the breathing treatments couldn’t even suppress it. Here we go again I thought….and so Monday morning I called in to work.
Haven’t we all been here? I really need to go work. My kid is sick AGAIN….great, what are they going to say now?
I sent the texts “Hi. It’s Liv. Mallie is sick again. I gotta take her to the doctor this morning. I’ll be in when I can.”
The email “Hi. Mallie is sick again. I gotta take her to the doctor this morning. I’ll be in when I can.”
And as my office in their always good fashion, “take care of your baby. She is more important.”
We all know I won’t physically be in the office, but they know I’ll answer the emails later when I get her settled.
Then the call the doctor’s office, “Hi. My daughter is sick can we been seen today?”
Then the call to the after school care, the school, the email to the teacher. “Hi. Mallie is sick again. I’ll get the doctor’s office to send a note. When would be a good time to pick up her makeup work?”
In the doctor’s office waiting room, I see the number on my phone with the number of email going up and up and up. By mid-day I’m at 273 unanswered emails. Email looms over my head like a dark rain cloud, but my Mallie is more important. “THEY” can wait.
I know the drill. We will get home by noon. Eat. Take the medicine. On the couch with her pawpaw blanket. Watch a couple of movies. Fluids. Eat again with the steroids. Breathing treatments every 4-6 hours. I’ll open the computer and answer the emails as she settles into a movie. I answer as many as I can before it’s time to go get the baby, dinner, baths, and crash on the couch only to look at email again. But this time, she had asked that I stay on the couch and watch a movie with her. She hasn’t asked for that in months. I’ll do it. I push the email aside and the numbers keep rising.
At some time in late afternoon, I decide to email and work. I feel my heart race with all the questions and the edits and the meeting requests. I try to focus, but what I don’t understand is that when my kids are sick that is ALL I can think about. Who was coughing? Did I let the cough go too long? Is it pneumonia? Did the baby just pull at his ears again? I’m off today, maybe I should have just made them look at him today too? JUST IN CASE.
After dinner as normal, Brandon says he will stay home tomorrow with her. I say, “Aunt — offered to let her stay there during the day so you and I could work.”
He is a good man. I know this will put him days behind too…..
but he says, “she needs to be home so she can rest in her space. In her bed.”
He also knows the drill. If she isn’t home, she doesn’t rest.
….and then I feel bad, because his role and his title are much more important than mine at work, but I can’t call in ANOTHER day. I just can’t.
…..and so the shuffle begins again. We both know this is a season. We both know we are both on “E” and just trying to get by till the sickness is gone.
How many other Moms can relate to the sickness shuffle?
So needless to say my “gas light” has been running and loudly dinging at me since Sunday. As most of us Moms, our needs come last. Sleep can wait. That pack of crackers will do for lunch. I’m already sleep deprived, right? I’ve already failed the diet today, right? My kids. My husband. My Dad. Work. They all come first and all of it will get done,. I’ll push through even if that means working 12-13 hour days for the rest of the week.
The week progressed……
my legs began to feel like jello and I parked on the other side of campus just to avoid the walk of 3 flights of stairs and the little hill from the parking lot to my office so my chest wouldn’t burn. I broke down on the same day and walked to urgent care on my lunch.
The doctor says….
“Hey, you have bronchitis. Why did you wait so long? Go home. Work can wait. I’ll write you a note. Honest. You need a good two- three days of rest.”
My eyes appreciate the gesture, but I beg to differ.
….. where are the antibiotics and the steroids? I can grab lunch, take the meds all while walking back to the office. I’m good I promise.
….and while I was at urgent care…. I see an email pop up….
and I realized my horrible mistake…….
so I found the vending machine and I caved. I got the Diet Coke. I need 5 minutes and a Diet Coke. Maybe some antibiotics and some really good tissues. Why is there only 2 ply in this bathroom always? I DO realize Diet Coke is HORRIBLE. I’m gonna have a million strokes by 40 and I’ll probably be dead by 42 because I had another sip, but it’s better than smoking right? ( Don’t answer that)….
…because if I smoked….. today would be the day…
but…. I’m human too. It was an honest mistake. It was not intentional. I didn’t even know I had done it, till NOW. JUST NOW…..2 days ago LATER…….
I failed to address someone as their earned title and they had very loudly called me out on my error. I felt horrible.
You know Kermit? You know that meme where Kermit is throwing his hands up in the air and acting like a fool…. that was me….
So I chugged half of the Diet Coke. As luck has it, a friend messaged me and asked how my day was going. How should I respond? What should I respond?
“I’m basically an idiot.”
“I think I’m overreacting.”
“Can steroids make you crazy after taking one?”
“GREAT! HOW ARE YOU?”
I went with the third response. I explained why the week seems to just keep stacking up against me and the latest revelations of yet another reason why I was over it all….
….and I really did feel stupid.
Her response. “Titles yup they are important, but you are important too. I hope that person gives you grace for a innocent mistake. You’ve had a lot going on. You work hard too. Does this person even know how horrible this probably makes you feel?”
I sent a smiley face back. Thank goodness for friends.
Grace was not given to me for my honest mistake, but I did send a note to apologize for my error to the offended.
I put myself in their shoes……
My titles: ( not in any particular order)
Daughter of God. Wife. Mom. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Coworker. Legal Assistant.
Would it offend me if someone forgot my most prized title? Momma. Probably so, because I worked REALLY hard to get that title…so I get it.
Mom. Momma. Mommy was my BE ALL END ALL goal for years. So of course if someone forgot I’d be upset too….
I’d walk a thought or two in their shoes and it did feel crappy, but I also felt crappy about doing it unintentionally and being rudely called out on it…
So I apologized…..
and at least I didn’t totally fall of the band wagon and drink the entire bottle…..
and at least the 2-ply toilet paper didn’t totally ruin my mascara.
and let’s all pray this is the end of the sickness until next year……
and let’s all hope I’m not really looking like the Kermit meme…
but if I am, it’s okay because I’m human and Moms aren’t really super heros. We just really try hard to be.
“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
– L.M. Montgomery