“Why am I wet?” This is the question I woke up to at midnight, when my darling child (who I love more than life itself, and needed to remind myself of) soggily stepped out of MY bed! Did you catch the word “soggily?” Yeah. Soaked is a synonym one might use. So, through bleary, sleep-deprived eyes, my husband and I took off the sheets, I cleaned up our child, and then, we both proceeded to stay awake. Through a state of “I’m exhausted but now I can’t sleep” kind of mentality, I wrote, and he read.
This may not seem like a big deal, and maybe it wouldn’t be, if we hadn’t just been recuperating from our previous twenty-four hours plus from … well, let’s just say, NOT heaven. I’m not much of a complainer, but I would just like to say, “Really life? Can you just like, step away from the Harris family for a few days!?!” Answer – no. Because if I could anthropomorphize life to make it human, it would say, “I’m just giving you what everyone else gets … no more, no less.” Still, I wish there was an emergency “off” switch, like when gears of a factory go haywire. Wouldn’t it be great to freeze the assembly line of your day just long enough to fix the glitches?
So, some of you may think I’m exaggerating, as you sometimes secretly think. But I am not. Within twenty-four hours, we had quite a ride, and it was the rockiest of roads. It began Sunday night. I was going to visit my grandmother, and drove over the river and through the woods an hour and forty minutes when my “less-than-ideal” choice of lunch (chai and a large peanut butter cookie) decided that it didn’t agree with the cold/flu-ish symptoms that I didn’t know I had. Ten minutes from her house, I got that dreaded … “Oh man, here we go,” feeling. Let’s just say, there is nothing less glamorous than pulling over in a neighborhood you’ve never been to before to open your car door and literally toss your cookies. (Remember, the peanut butter cookie lunch? I certainly couldn’t forget it at that point.) After that, I realized that, while all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and perhaps drink some 7up, I now had an hour and forty minute drive home – on the highway – in the dark. Ugh. My husband’s phone was dead, so he didn’t answer when I called, but it was probably for the best because what could he do? Drive himself and our two kids up to pick me up and leave our car? No. In the words of Justin Timberlake, “Cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it.”
About two hours, twenty minutes and three gas station stops later, I made it home. I’ll never forget the kind, sympathetic looks of the gas station attendants as I asked for “just a bag please.” It was a long night. I have to say, my mom, who lives in NC, “drove home with me,” her voice resonating through my earbuds with the confidence to carry on all the way. What is it about mothers that makes you suddenly able to handle the things you never could have otherwise? It’s like, they give you the strength they store up in their heart, just for you. Thanks mommy.
I’d like to say things got better, but after a good night’s sleep, still feeling a bit dehydrated, I made my way to work only to get frantic phone calls during my first hour! My husband had misplaced his keys. But this time, he didn’t just misplace them … he LOST them completely. Domino effect? You bet. If he can’t find his keys, he can’t take our kids to school. They were late, the sitter had to come take them, he had to take off work, and then proceeded to turn our house upside-down to find a key – that ended up being in the recycling bin! I couldn’t blame him however, partly because he was so distraught, but mostly because I’d once thrown out my keys in a gas station garbage. (Yeah, that was fun to pick through!)
When we all got home that evening, our car wouldn’t start, so my husband was outside jumping it with a neighbor. He had been cleaning it and so there was a bucket of water on the stairs to our house. It couldn’t have been more perfectly-awfully placed if it had been a “Three Stooges” skit. What happened next was this … my son opened the door to our house, my dog ran out and dumped the bucket of water, my daughter tried to walk into the house, my dog excitedly ran after her, the dog’s wet paws skidded across the tile floor, she knocked my daughter over, my daughter hit the floor as the dog passed bumping into the door, which ricochet back to hit my daughter in the face. It was cataclysmically-impressive. There were many tears (and maybe a few less-than-nice words shouted at no one in particular).
So now you can see why the wet bed wasn’t just icing on the cake, it was the cake-topper! One of my favorite quotes from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is from The Mad Hatter to Alice. When Alice comes back to Wonderland and doesn’t remember that she’d been there before, she is lost and confused. She isn’t the brave girl they remember her to be, she is a figment, a fragment of what she once was. In his concern, The Mad Hatter turns to her and says, “You used to be much more … muchier. You have lost your muchness.” And I feel like that sometimes. Not that I “lose” my muchness necessarily, but more like it is taken from me – stolen by life’s little (or big) knocks. I find it somewhat ironic that I just learned my daughter’s tap-dance song is going to be, “It’s a Hard Knock-Life” from the production Annie. Maybe it was God, trying to make me laugh … he succeeded.
The thing is, I don’t want to lose my “muchness.” I don’t want to lose my glow, regardless of how hard the wind blows on any given day … I cannot let the down-days dim my spirit. I want to be remembered for a laugh, in spite of it all. I want to be better than my circumstances. So I guess I’d better sleep now, because regardless of what minor catastrophe tomorrow may bring, I want to be “muchier” than I’ve been, and smile in the face of the storm.