I am finally here. It’s just me today. Just me, my computer, my grande Americano, and my glass water bottle, encased in bright orange rubber. My limbs are free of dangling children and I don’t have to worry about the hunger or pee schedules of three little boys. My hands contain no crumby snacks or sticky toys, and my fingers are able to freely and confidently tap on the blue keyboard cover of my brand new MacBook. If I wanted to, I could take my iPhone out without someone asking to play a game on it. If I really wanted to get crazy, I could stare at the wall for a moment and feel confident that when I get back to my page of words, things will still be intact. I only get a few hours a week to do this thing called writing—and boy, does it feel good. Between the exceptionally snowy and cold New York winter and the sickness that has assaulted my household, the boys and I have become quasi recluses. But not today, my friend. Today, it’s just me and my sweet old pal, writing.
It doesn’t matter that I’ve got a blob of dried formula (delivered via a spit up I didn’t even realize occurred) on my shoulder, that all my dreams last night involved cleaning up kid-vomit from a carpet, or that there’s a wooden train in my jacket pocket (maybe Percy, maybe Oliver, maybe even Mavis)–nothing is going to stop me today. I will write and drink coffee for four hours straight. I will produce actual words on a page today despite feeling the extra luggage of baby weight on the waist of my yoga pants every time I lean into my computer screen. I will look up at people walking in and out of the coffee shop as if I do something glamorous outside of this place besides wiping (adorable) butts. Oh baby, I will garner inspiration from the muses that are going to sing a sweet symphony to me today. And I will harvest a musical litany any dead poet would be proud of. I will accomplish all of this because I am powerful, and smart, and I have something to …Oh wait–there’s a call coming in…
FROM THE KIDS’ DAYCARE.
My whole life shifts, freezes for what seems like four whole minutes as I see the name of the children’s daycare clearly on my smartphone screen.
This can only mean one thing—this is no enigma. Daycare never calls to see how your sabbatical is treating you or just to say hi. They don’t call to let you know that your preschooler just mastered writing his last name, that your toddler finally ate a meal without draping the floor with his scraps, or that your baby finally started crawling. Nope.
THEY ONLY EVER CALL TO TELL YOU TO COME PICK UP YOUR KID BECAUSE HE IS SICK (in the nicest way possible, of course).
And there goes my day of pretending. Pretending that I’m a thinking, writing, idea-generating individual. These calls are what confirm I am tied and bound to one role first and foremost—mamahood.
Despite all of the wonderments of motherhood, being robbed of my time of productivity (or the joys of staring at the wall alone)–SIMPLY SUCKS.
I tell my students to never use the word “suck”. It’s such a lazy choice of a word that can be replaced by so many other delightful possibilities (calamitous, gloomy, ill-fated, or luckless anyone?). But today, I don’t have time for interesting words. Because today just sucks.
Before I even answer the phone, a barrage of reasons why being a mother today sucks flash through my mind:
This sucks because I just sat down with my coffee.
This sucks because it means I will probably be home with sick kids for the next week or so.
This sucks because my poor kids will feel badly. And be sad. And cranky.
This sucks because cranky kids are jerks.
This sucks because I will have to entertain my other two children while I nurse the sick one back to health.
This sucks because the other, aptly entertained, kids will soon contract the same illness.
This sucks because I’ll probably get sick too.
This sucks because being sick with three sick kids is the equivalent of an icy hell (kind of like New York this winter).
As I answer the phone knowing what to expect, I am greeted by Janet, the director, who quickly says, “It’s not an emergency or anything serious.” She is a smart lady and almost always begins like this as to not alarm parents. I know what’s coming…or so I think.
Instead of telling me of the very-hard-to-get-over virus one of my son’s has contracted which will prohibit them all from coming to school for at least a week, she tells me that she just wants to let me know that Giorgie’s eye is a little pink, but not particularly gooey, and that since I already started him on the drops (as a precautionary measure since the other boys had conjunctivitis), he is fine to stay. She just wanted to let me know, she says. She adds that he was happy and comfortable and that she’ll see me at 5 o’clock.
I quietly pick up my jaw from the floor, stare at the wall for a while, take a sip of my still-warm coffee, and write my first blog post.
Today does not suck after all. And I am thankful.