So, today, I took the kids to the zoo, dropped by the pet store, bought the kids ice creams, and then tripped on a rubber duck and nearly bashed myself to death on the marble of my bathtub.
Luckily, my left elbow and left knee took the brunt of the impact, instead of my poor cranium, so I have lived to tell the tale and to face another day.
This hasn’t been my week for physical ailments, though. I already have a mild case of shingles that’s inflamed one of my spinal nerves (and ticked off the other ones pretty well, too.) The impact into the tub gave my spine an unneeded jarring. I have a feeling that my old friend Pain and I will be very close for the rest of this week.
Life’s always like that, though, isn’t it? Just when you think that things are already going pretty badly, you stumble into something bigger and badder than the previous cause of your self-pity. (And trust me, I was feeling significant self pity as I soaked in the bathtub, nursing my new bruises.) You never know what’s going to happen next.
I’ve almost given up on being surprised by things. Today, my oldest daughter and I had a lovely plan to take the little boys to the zoo for a leisurely stroll and then some snacks. My handicapped daughter’s school called, just as I was getting ready to leave the house. Indy was rubbing her runny nose and then touching the other children, some of whom have delicate immune systems. Could we please come and get her?
I’m thinking Comeon, there’s four freaking days left of school, can’t you manage to deal with her for four days? I’ll be stuck with her all summer since you jerks weaseled out of providing summer services. What I said was “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.” No sense getting all hot and bothered about it. I didn’t even let myself fantasize about public hangings for the school nurse, whomever she is.
The boys were looking forward to their first trip to the zoo since last fall, so I decided to plunge on anyway. So things would be more difficult, so what? I can handle difficult, can’t I?
And things were okay. Not the greatest zoo trip in the world, but we saw some animals and then we had ice creams so it wasn’t the worst trip, either. That’s one good thing about having an annual family membership– if things start to suck, you can leave and come back another day. It got pretty hot, so we dodged out after only seeing half the zoo. We’ll probably go back this weekend and do the other half. Hakuna matata, as the kids would say (after repeated brutal viewings of “The Lion King 1 1/2” which we don’t own but have checked out of the library twice.)
In a lot of ways, we’re not a very “lucky” family. The chances of having an autistic daughter are pretty low, but we hit that lotto anyway. We’re prone to appliance failures and the children vomit quite a bit more than any parenting book ever led me to suspect was normal. But, even when things get really crappy and we’re wondering where the money’s going to come from to fix the air conditioner or how we’re ever going to be able to make it to some appointment in a distant city, something comes along that makes it possible. And we scrape along, not elegantly but at least intact and (somewhat) sane.
When I was a young mother, I was a control freak. I had to be in charge of everything . . . EVERYTHING . . . to do with the kids. My poor husband wasn’t allowed to even feed the babies, lest he do it wrong and they choke to death and fifteen other improbable perilous outcomes. Now, I’m getting more used to the idea that I’m not really in charge of much. Things are going to go wrong, there will be LOTS of vomit, and the upholstery of the car is irredeemably screwed. But oh well. My skull is intact, the basket of rubber duckies has been re-located to a less trippable position, and I’ll live to fight another day.
It’s all I can ask for.