Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wild week!

    Sunday morning, 5 am…I am enjoying the solitude of the wee hours of dawn with the baby when I hear someone in the bathroom.  I go to investigate and find my five year old son, who has obviously awoken with a nasty stomach virus, getting ill very near to, but not quite in, the toilet…and so begins another crazy week in my life.   I stay home with the sick child and the baby while Tim takes the other children to Mass.   For the next 48 hours my son battles his stomach bug, several times we are sure he is better and then it starts up again. 

Tuesday morning, he is finally better and I am praying that no one else get sick.  My two older daughters and I, along with my mom, have tickets to go see Little House on the Prairie the musical at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.  We bought the tickets back in September and have been so looking forward to the show.  Thankfully all tummies seem sound at 5 :40 when we set off for the theater, which is about 45 minutes away.  After being in the car for close to two hours, most of which was spent in an endless line of creeping traffic we arrive at the show with only 2 minutes to get to our seats.  Somehow, we make it.  The show is fabulous, worth every minute of the stressful drive and the sprint to our seats.  The girls are both beaming as we leave the theater.   We decide to treat them to milkshakes on the way home and quickly realize that we never received our change from the parking attendant before the show.  In our mad dash to make it in time we handed him $20 for the $5 parking fee and, whether intentionally or not, he kept it all.  

Wednesday seems a normal, uneventful day until we are leaving for my 8 year old son’s baseball practice at 6 pm.  My oldest daughter looks at me, quite suddenly and says, “I feel sick”.  She stays home with the phone nearby and uses it to call me about 20 minutes later to inform me that she has caught her little brother‘s stomach bug.  When we get home from baseball I, too, start to feel a little funny.  “I’m sure it is all in my head, just paranoia because the kids are sick,“  I tell Tim.  No such luck.  My daughter and I spend a very long night outside the bathroom together taking turns running quickly in to be sick.  

Thursday morning, 5 am… the baby awakens for her normal early morning snack.  I wake Tim up and tell him there is no way I can nurse her, then retreat, once again, to the bathroom.  He tries unsuccessfully to rock her to sleep and ends up giving her a jar of baby food and then falling back to sleep with her on the couch.  At 9 am, he gets our, now perfectly healthy, five year old to pre-school and calls in sick to work so he can care for the other children while I am out of commission.  The day passes in a blur for me.  I, somehow, make it to the couch where I do not move until about 6 pm, completely worn out.   In the evening, I drag myself up to totally disinfect the bathroom,  hoping to prevent any further illness.  I throw in a load of laundry, which has been mounting to frightening heights through all this.  The next day is my middle daughter’s 7th birthday so Tim and I hang 7 balloons on her bed, a family tradition.  Then, finally, I get myself to bed hoping the baby will sleep well.

Friday morning, my daughter’s birthday.  Tim has taken a (previously planned) vacation day to celebrate with her.  She requested a month ago to go camping for her birthday.  We booked the campsite right away.  Though the winter had been unusually cold we were sure by March 5th it would be perfect camping weather.  We were wrong.  The forecasted low temperature is 40 degrees.  This, coupled with my still not-quite-normal tummy, makes us adjust our plans.  We decide to go spend the day at the campgrounds but to go back home to sleep.  When we head out I still have not felt well enough to eat since dinner on Wed. and I am nervous that it may be a disastrous day but it is my daughter’s birthday and I don’t want to ruin it.  I spend the ride hoping and praying that my tummy is okay and that the stomach bug does not hit my little girl on her special day.  God, thankfully, obliges and we have a wonderful day.  Once home, we set up a play tent in the family room and tuck the kids into their sleeping bags.

Saturday morning.  I wake up and look around the house.  It is painfully obvious that I spent two days doing nothing.  The house is trashed almost beyond recognition, the laundry is literally taking over, and the refrigerator is bare.  I am overwhelmed with all that needs to get done.  As I attempt to clean up the kids are rambunctiously playing, they are underfoot, loud, and wound up.  I snap and yell at them.  I have had enough!  “I’m going out,” I announce as I grab my grocery list and storm out.  God bless poor Tim, he is left with all 5 kids and, of course, the messy house.  I head straight for church, the groceries can wait.  I need time before the tabernacle to pray, to regroup, and to relax, its been quite a week.  I arrive at church only to find that the oratory, the small chapel at our church where the Blessed Sacrament is kept, is locked.  Apparently it is open only during the week.  I am not deterred.  I decide to drive to the next closest Catholic church.  I know it is always open.  When I arrive there, I am greeted at the door by a man in a suit with a name tag from the local funeral home.  Yes, you guessed it, unless I want to crash a funeral Mass I am not going to get in there either.  At this point, I figure I have two options.  I can either cry or laugh.  Amazingly, by the grace of God, a smile slowly spreads across my face.  I decide to pray right where I am, “Okay, God I get it.  Here I am trying to escape my life, if only for an hour, to focus once again on serving you and striving for holiness but I know my crazy, busy, unpredictable life is my path to holiness.  I know that in my home, with my family, is where I serve you best, even if it is hard to see at times.  Thank you Lord for the reminder, and thank you so much for helping me through another wild week.”  And then I set off for the grocery store.

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