I woke up grumpy on Monday. Some hurt feelings and wrong reactions had me venting to my girlfriend via Vox on my morning commute (how did I ever live without vox?). I dusted off my big girl smile and put on a happy face once I was in the office, ready to tackle the mound of work which has kept me busy since the fall.
The day went by in a blur. Back-to-back meetings meant trying to mentally shift from one topic to another all the while crossing my legs until I could find two minutes to run to the bathroom. Texts from home reported our nanny couldn’t make it, so we juggled little bit’s gymnastics pick up which meant Bray would be on dinner duty so I could deliver her to a 6 pm lesson (never again will I sign kids up for dinnertime classes).
On the commute home, I received an exciting call I hadn’t expected with an amazing punchline if it all worked out. I was elated. I came through the door bursting to tell Bray the news. But I barely got three words out before I saw the baby looking deathly ill. He suffered a hacking cough and had his head in his hands. A quick thermometer check showed 104 degree temperature, out of nowhere, so we triaged in 10 minutes with inhalers and Tylenol and ice packs before I had to run out with sister.
The night was a blur. Homework and storybooks and baths finished, but their bedtime didn’t mark the end of the work. We were down our nanny for the week, so catch up laundry and spot cleaning was done as Iowa caucus results streamed in over the television newscasts. Just as the speechifying had wrapped and we were ready to turn in, late, our sick asthma boy got worse. Breathing labored and fever returned as we sat in the shower letting the steam wrap its way around his lungs. I caught snatches of sleep between 3 am and 5 am and the rest was nursing and Googling respiratory distress so we could make a decision about the ER.
We settled on showing up at the door of the doctor before she began seeing patients. While Bray took the baby that direction, I ran kids to school testing, as our schedule had turned on its head for the day. We did a retread of the day before, only with an ailing child and no nanny. The night came with no improvements, and a child suffering from a virus worsened by asthma is a scary thing. Morning dawned, another sleepless night, but we still had to get two kids out the door. We all gathered to pray for Papa, my dad, who was about to undergo major back surgery before separating once again. Juggling conference calls, two nights of no sleep, and a repeat doctor’s visit showing lower oxygen levels, left me worried and worn.
This is what the days look like for so many of us. Not these exact battles but ones with consequences of roller coaster emotions, juggling work and family, and trying to stay moderately coherent. In 36 hours, I’d had less than five hours sleep, and went from frustrated to busy to elated to worried to sympathetic to exhausted to confused to stressed to unsettled to relieved to anxious before landing on completely spent and overwhelmed.
There’s a myth still perpetrated which leads us, when in these seasons, to envy those who have found the magic bullet which will solve life’s chaos. Stop the busy or create a perfect balance. But one doesn’t exist.
This happens. To each of us. In different forms and fashions and we simply have to reorient ourselves for these short bursts of insanity. Things fall apart. I didn’t get all my work accomplished. I ran on fumes instead of actual rest. I’m pretty sure the kids went to school with Lunchables which I know is probably processed evil. I didn’t even shower yesterday because I needed all the hot water for steam showers for an asthmatic kid with croup. I never looked at my Bible for comforting words until I went to write this post to try to take the sting out if you’re in the same season. Then I realized that was disingenuous, so I settled for the comfort which comes knowing we’re all in this together tonight. The encouragement of knowing these particularly run-amok seasons are short-lived and far between. The gratitude in getting to another sunset, more in tact than not.
So I’ll whisper a little prayer for you if you’ll whisper a little prayer for me, and we’ll toast to the easier days when they come knocking.