These are the days when I grow the most; when the limits of my capabilities are stretched, and I find myself almost unrecognizable from the person I was this morning. Sometimes, you are just asked to “Step it up,” and you do just that.
At the same time, that gap between me and the Prima Donnas has widen so much that it is now a canyon. Standing in the vicinity of a woman complaining about the length of time it takes her to wash her hair each morning makes my mind do flips as I bite my lip and try to refrain myself from saying something rude, like “why don’t you try going a few days without combing it, just because you don’t have time, like the rest of the Moms in the world.” It’s really, none of my business how long it takes her to wash her hair; and I really shouldn’t judge. I just wish I didn’t know.
We think, after we deliver our babies, that this was the ultimate labor; carrying the baby for 9 months, the tiredness, the sickness, all culminating in the marathon labor, birth and recovery. “I’m so glad that’s behind me!” But that is only the prep course. The real challenges, both physical, emotional and mental lie ahead when the demands of children conflict with your own body, your own schedule, and your obligations.
Today, the challenges were merely physical. Sunday carries the leftovers of our spring Wednesdays; the day when four sports events occur at the same time. Weekends divide the full brunt of the sports, spread over two days, rather than one. Sunday is game day for half of Wednesday’s efforts; throw in a birthday party or two, and you’ve got yourself a full day.
I flew solo this weekend, while my husband was busy with all the guys at the lake knocking out projects. With only one chaperone, thankfully, none of the game times collided; there were some overlaps, and friends pitched in to give me the extra lead-time I needed. The tight schedule left no room for wiggles.
By ten this morning, the day delivered its blow, as one of my few, and annual migraines settled in for a visit. Blurred vision is the first sign; I can only see half of what is front of me, as faces look like a Picasso. The blessing came when the blurred vision left just in time for me to back the car out of the driveway. However, the joy from my reclaimed sight was only shortly celebrated, as the ability to see again was soon replaced by pain and an upset stomach. Normally, at the first sign of blurred vision, I would pop one of my standby migraine pills. The pills knock me out; not an option today as I would be spending much of the day behind the wheel. So, I took the migraine cold and straight.
Snack for the post game was thrusted upon me at the last minute, and as I stood in the checkout line at Giant Eagle, cookies and juice bags in my cart, I spent equal time simultaneously looking for my plus card while stopping myself from getting sick on the floor. I tried to distract myself with the TV Guide headline at the checkout, with the teaser for the hidden story, “Who Killed Edie Britt?” Hmmm, I wondered.
When I dropped my son off at the lacrosse game, one hour early because of pictures, the sky began to look threatening dark. There was still fifteen minutes until I needed to go back to the birthday party to collect his brothers; and I feared that as soon as I left the sky would break, and he would be stranded in the rain. The park was full of parents and friends we knew, so I pulled out a pen, and scrawled my cell phone on his arm, just in case he forgot, and told him who to go to just in case. “They will give you a ride; just give me a call to let me know where you are, and I’ll find you.”
As I walked back to the car, my legs felt heavy, and I was reminded, as the car looked so far away, how much I needed to rest. But, I thought of the dirty dishes, the dirty floors, and the piled laundry waiting for me at home, and the hungry bellies I would soon have. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I contemplated how nice it would be to curl up in front of the TV tonight and see what all of this hoopla about Edie Britt was all about; but I have many miles to go before I sleep.
While I drove away, the words I said, echoed in my mind, “I will find you,” and I realized my words were straight out of Margaret Wise Brown’s The Runaway Bunny. Her words used to comfort me more than the boys.
At the birthday party, I sat down to eat the sandwich and raw radishes (I’ve been craving the crunchy, earthy red roots lately) I bought for myself at Giant Eagle. The sickness lessened, and the jack hammer settled down in my head. As the grip of the migraine began to loosen, it left behind a manageable headache. Yes, laying down, curled up in bed, would have felt better; but I marveled at how surprisingly good it felt to stand at a soccer game with just a headache, rather than a migraine. And, I was grateful, not only for the sandwich and the apple juice my friend gave me, but also for my own decision to choose to get the sandwich and eat it. It sure doesn’t hurt that I have awesome, resilient kids too.
Days like these make our normal days easier, as tough days won’t be so hard in the future. At the same time, you gain the gift of perception; the experience that leads you not to sign up for this, or that, again, because you know it can lead to a place of miss-balanced priorities. The place we all try to avoid. And that is the gift of days like these.