Four days turned into 11 days of the most peace and joy I’d experienced in a long, long time.
But inevitably, things went south on day 12.
It’s not like day 12 came and BAM, everything was bad. That would definitely be exaggerating! Reality was, not-so-fun things kept popping up one after the other, and all combined together, they set me back more than I would have guessed.
On Wednesday, I got a flat tire. The baby was with me, it was 1 degree outside, and since I didn’t know how to install a spare, I had to wait 1 hour and 40 minutes for a tow truck to bring me to the tire station.
On Thursday, my husband left for a 4-day business trip after having already worked 7 weeks straight like a MAD MAN.
On Thursday night, baby was up nearly all night long with a cough and runny nose, crying her eyes out next to me in bed.
On Friday night, I found crusty, dried-up yellow stuff in baby’s ear.
On Saturday, I gave baby a bath only to discover blood and puss coming out of that same ear as I was drying her. A double ear infection is what she had, one of the eardrums ruptured.
On Sunday, I woke up at 5:15 a.m. to get myself and three kids ready to leave the house by 6:20 a.m. to get to a 5th grade boys basketball tournament one hour away by 7:30 a.m. Games 1 and 2 were fine, manageable, tolerable. By game 3, ya, baby and I were on the verge of losing it. The mobile phone car charger we’d bought cheap on eBay wasn’t working. Without GPS, I took the least efficient route home, making it a 1 hour 20-minute drive through snow-blustery winds. And oh ya, I forgot, I’d officially become sick, so everything about me was wearing thin.
On Monday, school was called off for the 4th day this winter due to dangerously cold temperatures, and school was already called off again for Tuesday. All three kids were at home, all day, inside, with nothing to do, and I was sick and completely worn out.
After the two oldest had gotten in a fight, chasing each other around the house yelling stuff and grabbing at each other continuously, I yelled from the couch “STOP IT! YOU NEED TO STOP IT NOW, OR YOU’RE GOING DOWNSTAIRS TO FIGHT BY YOURSELVES! I DON’T FEEL WELL. YOU NEED TO BE QUIET RIGHT NOW!”
Where the Wild Things Are played in the background. Ya, it was pretty much just me watching the movie at that point. Baby was sleeping and the Wild Things were, well, being Wild Things.
They calmed down and I continued my on again, off again watching of the movie while trying to get a little much needed rest.
A half hour later, my daughter approached with a box of tea I’d purchased while life was feeling more peaceful and joyful. “Can I make you some tea, mom? It’s for stress and tension.” (Ya, I knew I’d need that sooner or later.) “Yes,” I said. “That would be awesome. Thank you for being so thoughtful.”
I continued to lie on the couch, all snuggled in tight with the last afghan ever knit by my late grandmother, and waited for my tea.
A couple minutes later, after a little direction from a distance, she arrived with the cup I needed more desperately than I knew. I took the cup, tested a sip, and gave that Wild Thing a big hug. “Thank you, that was so kind. You’re such a sweet girl.”
She let me rest in quiet while I drank.
The Wild Things agreed amongst themselves “Mom’s stressed today.” I explained, “it’s not so much stress as it is I’m not feeling well at all, and I really need some rest and quiet.”
Husband was home from his business trip, and I’d planned on isolating myself in the bedroom all night long when he got home from work. I’d planned on making myself a cup of that tea, but realized – receiving that cup as a heart-felt gift from my daughter was much more fulfilling than serving it up to myself.
When daddy came home and I was once again on the couch, he knew “If mom’s on the couch, that means she’s really not feeling well.” So I let him take all three kids to McDonalds. The Wild Thing that gave me tea took my order on a cartoon notepad before she left. Grilled chicken sandwich. Fries. Diet Dr. Pepper.
I got myself a hot shower, lay down in bed under the big fuzzy blanket, and waited in peace and silence until they came back home.
McDonalds was accompanied by the Bachelor wedding of Sean and Catherine, which was followed by another cup of hot tea delivered by the Wild Thing that was.
I glanced again at the tag attached to the tea bag.
The power of love is infinite.
When she delivered the tea, I’d told her this Bachelor wasn’t appropriate for kids, that she needed to go downstairs and spend some time with daddy. But she came back an hour later, “I just wanna spend some time with you.” “Lie down,” I said. “Lie down right here next to me.”
The cares of the day washed away in the moments before she fell asleep. It was in the slowing down, the caring for one another, the receiving of gifts unexpected, where peace and joy were found again.