Friday, April 22, 2005

Gang aft agley

It’s the third week in April. Spring vacation in education-land. I’ve been looking forward to this week for two months. Not so much because I get a vacation – more because the husband would consistently be around to watch the kid so I could work. Hey, we even talked about our plans this time. How he would have his days to do the things he never has time for, and how I would have my days to catch up on interviews and writing. This was going to be my big comeback week, and I was finally going to be able to get work in on time.

When our son threw up on Sunday night, we figured he’d just had too much excitement over the previous few days and would be fine the next morning. We cleaned everything up and fed him the toast he wanted, along with some juice. He went to sleep. All was good.

Until 3 a.m. Monday morning, when up came the toast and juice. From then on, very little stayed in his stomach. He decided he hated Pedialyte, and then he decided we weren’t very good parents because we wouldn’t let him have his yogurt drinks. We ran out of ideas quickly, and he knew it. My one bright spot came while I was researching other parents’ ideas. This mom’s experience exactly mirrored our own.

The week slipped on by, the boy growing more listless. A half-dozen telephone calls (three of which were made after hours) and one doctor’s visit later, we were given a diagnosis of rotavirus, told that it was epidemic in our community at the moment, and advised that our son appeared physically well enough not to be admitted.

At which point I nearly burst into tears. Of course I was happy that my little boy was strong enough to fight the infection on his own. But I was desperately disappointed that I couldn’t just have a teensy break and let someone else – professional strangers who were used to screaming children – take care of him for a few hours. “This is worse than reflux,” I groused to my husband as we drove home, our son screaming the whole way. He could only nod; it was taking all his concentration to drive as if he hadn’t been awake since 3 a.m. for the third day in a row.

Since then, I’ve been counting my blessings. The vomiting ended the day of the doctor visit. Diarrhea has been minimal. We coaxed a number of smiles and even some kisses out of the boy yesterday. And he even took half an hour to wander around the yard, which he was thrilled at. (Like his Mommy, he is terrible at being sick.) And all this happened on a vacation week, not during a work week, when I’m sure I would have... actually, I’m not sure what I would’ve done. Had myself committed, maybe.

Not much writing was accomplished, not even this morning, when I was up at 4 a.m. Caring for a sick child is monumental, and I am in awe of single parents and those whose children are gravely ill. I may be late again this month, but a lot more could have gone wrong. I’ll take lateness, and a lesson learned: there is no such thing as a block of time on which to rely. What matters is what we do with the opportunities to accomplish our goals. Here’s an hour: will you work on your novel or watch TV? Here’s a day: will you try to get in touch with elusive sources, or play card games? Here’s a week: will you write, edit, submit, or will you make excuses as to why you couldn’t? Can you afford to say no? Will the time be there when you need it most?

The week slipped away, but my son is on the mend, and a new month is coming up. I can still make it.


Blogger Tisha from Texas said...

Ugh. Rhotovirus ranks up there with Chernobyl. Don't ask me how I did it, but BOTH children and the HUBBY had the same thing for a week, but TISH didn't come down with it. Don't you just hate it when people talk about themselves in third person? I do too, sorry for doing it.
Anyway, I am always in awe of writers that have made it. I am pursuing my dream with my novel but seem to be in the gigantic waiting room of life. Oh well, at least I have my day job. HELP ME!

27/4/05 8:39 PM  

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