You know what you get when mom’s sick, dad’s sick and every blessed family member is sick in the house at the same time? Well, I’ll tell you this much: It makes a game of Jumanji look like tiddlywinks in comparison.
This has been our reality for the last month.
First it started with all kids passing around the same cold/sinus/chest… whatever. Then everyone seemed to slowly get better from that and about 4 days after the last child was well, we thought we were in the clear.
But that’s the sneakyness of these childhood maladies… they’ll lurk and trick you into thinking they’re gone. I started to feel the “crud” at the beginning of last week and I just shuddered. It was aggressive and swift and didn’t seem to care about my usual concoction of over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.
I went downhill fast and struggled through the rest of the week, doing the drop-off and pick up and all of the activities.
But here comes the long Labor Day weekend! I’d have a chance to rest and rela-
Dave was working the weekend. There will be no relaxing. Just driving more of the same struggle bus.
On Saturday, my dear parents (yay grandparents) corralled the kids at their house while I slept on their couch in the basement. The only sleep I’d had in the past couple of days.
Sunday, we managed at home, but I let the natives do whatever they wanted. Jumanji ran the house. I let Josh make the snacks and I don’t even know what was made. Probably chips and gummy worms.
Labor Day, while everyone else was bar-b-que-ing, I called my PCP and begged for some magic codeine.
They called it into the local CVC (one of the only pharmacies open on Labor Day).
At this point, I was barely moving. Everything hurt from the continuous coughing. My ears, my chest my abs (oh look, I still have abs) and general tiredness from not sleeping.
I loaded the kids in the car and looked down at my lower half.
I took one second to decide that I just didn’t care. I was too tired and sick to go root around for shorts. So I climbed into the car sans pants and fired ‘er up.
We pulled up to the CVC drive-thru window and some nice ladies asked my information. They were wearing masks so it was hard to tell what they were saying through the thick glass and the crackling microphone. I didn’t have ANY voice at all, so I had to motion to them that I’d throw them my Drivers’ license for info.
While they looked at my details, I just pitifully laid my head on the the car window sill wishing I could go to sleep right then and there. I was almost asleep, too when I heard a male voice come over the loudspeaker.
Ah, the pharmacist who was going to explain to me the complex procedure of spooning the med in my mouth. Which he had every right to do because I wasn’t looking capable of much of anything at that point.
I looked up. And up. And up some more. That was one TALL pharmacist.
And suddenly I realized my gig was probably up. The likelihood that he could see the no pants situation was very high. I looked the only place I could… I met his stare to make sure his only show was that freebie, right at the beginning.
“Go on,” my eyes seemed to say. “I dare you to look down.”
The drug giant continued his speech about how to properly down the meds and I only broke my stare after I said, “Thank you,” and peeled away from the building.
Now that I think about it, I bet they caught it on camera. For all posterity. That’s ok… I’m not upset. Although a little pale, my 43-year-old legs aren’t half bad.
I realize that somewhere deep inside, no one really takes a risk like that unless they’re prepared or hoping to get caught. Maybe it was a little of both. But it was most definitely a whole lot of “I am focusing on one word today…”
And pants in 105 degree Arizona heat did not make the cut.
If I had gotten pulled over, I might have begged the officers to watch the kids while I took a nap in the back seat of their patrol car.
The rest of the day was more of the same, but with a shot of Codeine, I was able to get a short nap with the baby and then sleep through the night.
There was TV and video games and anarchy galore. Pretty much every kid’s dream. So instead of feeling guilty I thought to myself, “Hey, I brought Disneyland to the house!”
The irony is: The only time I’m the “fun parent” is when I’m sick and not so fun.
Tonight, I’ll be passing the codeine baton to my faithful partner who has cheerfully assumed “main parent” role in the evenings while also working all day. He has now received the sickness gift and all kids are down too.
This is a game of partnership. When both parents are sick, can you make an honest assessment to sacrifice and level-up to take over for the other one? Sickness, mental health, stress…. sometimes we can work in tandem but when we’re limping through life, one takes over and carries the load. Strong partnerships transfer the load without begging, knowing that the other one has done everything and are now at the end of themselves.
The wild animals are calmer in their sick state… but the game still rages on.
What they don’t know is that the parents have already won this round… and live to play another day.
#jumanji #level-up #parentsunite #nopantsmonday #laborday2021 #graceunderfire #amwriting #writingcommunity #writingwithkids #writingislife