I am now starting the recovery process after an unexpected 5-day string of days at home with the bambinos. Between the weekend, then the MLK holiday, and then two snow days, it has been a long-haul of unplanned-for downtime. We had purposefully planned a “do nothing” long weekend, but the added two days tacked onto the end really pushed us (well, mainly me) over the edge.
Due to a major work event that Braydon had going on, the past 48 hours has involved me taking it for the team, canceling basically everything on my calendar in order to be home with the kiddos, and doing it entirely on my own. Our family doesn’t do very well cooped up inside all day, let alone cooped up inside all day with lots of unforeseen unstructured time on our hands. And there is not much more blood-pressure-raising for me than trying to hold down the home-front while also plugging away at my laptop in a desperate attempt to keep the home-and-work balls all up in the air. I can do home. And I can do work. But I really struggle with doing them both at once on a snow day.
Here are my Top Ten Moments from this little stretch of bleak midwinter—
That moment when…
- …that phone call came at 5:45am Tuesday saying that school was cancelled… the sinking knowing feeling of the ramifications and ripple effect of those calls are hard to describe… and then… ditto and deja vu all over again for Wednesday morning… All I could think was, “Holy heck! How on earth am I going to get through this?!”
- …Owen spilled a whole, brand-new, previously-unopened, full jug of milk all over the kitchen, and then, as it was dripping all over the counter and down onto the floor, tried to convince me that it would be perfectly reasonable for him to lick it up (!!!) so that it “won’t be wasted!” (Oh, dear God!)
- …Meera spilled her entire, brand new, box of 96 Crayola crayons — yes, a ninety-six pack — all over the family room, and then announced to me with total sincerity, as I began to help her collect the crayons from all over the coffee table and the floor, that they had to go back into the original box “exactly in order!” (Oh, dear God!)
- …Kyle used the f-word… yes, the f-word (I could not believe it!!!!)… twice… yes, twice!… and I had to send him to his room, and then reprimand him harshly… and when I asked him if he even knew what that word means, he explained to me in no uncertain terms that it means “another word for funky, you know, like strange” (Oh, dear God!)
- …I psyched myself up, rallied, and told the bambinos that we were going to go outside to “enjoy the snow!” and “go sledding!”… but when we got out there, it was so frigid cold and blustery and windy, and the windchill factor was so extreme, that I become truly convinced that we were all going to get frostbite on our faces, and I pretty promptly announced that we had to go back in… and then I realized… that… the entire operation of getting them into-and-out-of their snow gear took easily twice as much time as the time spent actually in the snow.
- …I hit that saturation point after a few too many emails and texts and voicemails from female colleagues/working mothers (all in correspondence related to my massive project of attempting-to-reschedule-all-calendared-events-for the-past-two-days) mentioned things along the lines of, “I don’t know how you do it because I could NEVER do it without my mother!” and “It is days like today that I’m most grateful to have my mom right here!” and “I am just so grateful I’ve got my mother to pick up my slack, or else I’d be a goner!”… and I seriously thought I was going to die a long slow painful death of career-mama-on-a-snow-day-with-no-extended-family-around-to-fall-back-on… and I had to swallow hard to be a big girl (and remind myself of the truth: that I’m not jealous of them, I’m just envious of them)… and I used all my might to not fall apart right then and there.
- …I discovered that Dash had partially destroyed Meera’s beloved Tooth Fairy gift — a tiny Polly Pocket toy (that she had just got — from her first lost tooth — just this morning), and I had to work extremely hard to keep from crying pitiful tears of utter resignation, as I Duct Taped the thing back together with the world’s tiniest slices of Duct Tape on the world’s tiniest plastic Polly Pocket backpack… all before I had even had my first cup of coffee.
- …in the middle of playing yet another round of Chutes and Ladders (we played it a God-awful number of times), I had the brilliant realization that I had made a terribly horrible mistake: Chutes and Ladders most definitely should have gone into the massive “To Donate” pile in the midst of our move a year-and-a-half-ago… because… if only it had… then the kids would probably have never even realized it was gone, and I wouldn’t have to be playing this God-awful game (a game that I’ve always hated) yet again… oh, and I should have gotten rid of the game Fibber too (another one I hate, and which we played a God-awful number of times over the past two days).
- …I finally broke down crying, a sobbing hot mess, on Tuesday night, after the kids were finally in bed… because I was finally sitting under a blanket on the couch, bleary eyed and in some sort of state of exhaustive shock, having just taken my first sip of wine, only to see the lengthy list of school cancellations hitting for the next day all over Facebook.
- …I was cleaning up the spin-art project… and realized that — just like so many of these things — the set-up and the clean-up take a lot more time than the actual spinning-of-the-art.
But, then there was tonight, when I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the kids and I were eating Chinese delivery and watching the (ridiculous) movie Mulan II, and I thought to myself, “Holy heck! I actually got through this?!”
And there were many other moments too. Lots and lots of them, when things went really swell. Moments when I was supremely grateful for a career that affords tremendous flexibility, and a safe secure home with loads of heat and hot water, and three healthy happy (albeit very rambunctious) kids. The list above is a bunch of pathetic First World Problems. That is for sure. Another thing that is for sure is this: I know I’ll look back on these days and wish I could do them all over again — not as a way to re-do things to make up for regrets (hopefully), but rather to have the chance to do them again because of how purely sweetly special these God-awful days actually are. I want to remember the good and the bad all wrapped up together.