Counting the Victories

It’s been one of those days. You know the one, where you find yourself watching the clock with a tingling in your fingernails as you hang on for just one more minute until, … and then the until seems to be worse than the hanging on time.

Specifically, Little Person, who has never been a particularly poorly child (2 bouts of chickenpox notwithstanding) woke up Thursday morning with the dreaded lurgy and proceeded to puke into the dirty laundry. And her bed. And her parents’ bed. But then six hours later she was better. But still, that was Thursday and Friday off school. And when she woke up this morning she was unexpectedly grumpy, but then, kids do that. I figured it had something to do with her dad going in to work. He left just before 9, around the time I realised my dry throat was not being satisfactorily soothed by a cup of tea.

Little Person reacquainted us with her breakfast around 10, in the living room, over her front, her chair, a little pile of clean laundry sat next to the TV cabinet, oh and the front of the TV cabinet. Put child in shower and hose her off. Cancel plans to visit close family friend for a birthday party (for the second time this week). Realise that there is one thing worse than the smell of bananas (the smell makes me feel ill). And there is nobody else around to clean up the mess. So this is what being a mum is, then.

So my throat got worse, and Little Person had a fever and we spent the day in morose company, me on tenterhooks every time she ate anything. (Turns out tomato soup is a winner. Requests for bananas were vetoed.) And then I realised that The Dude finished work at 5 not 6, so he was coming home earlier than expected. And grumpier than expected too. This was not entirely his fault, as his shift has changed recently and it is the first time he had to work a full Saturday in a long time. Plus he had a fair idea of what he was coming home to, thanks to my diligence in sending email updates to him.

But with The Dude home, I managed to rootle through the freezer and come up with a semblance of a meal, while Little Person took my vacating the sofa as a signal to be disagreeable. Yep, we was having a grumpinees competition. Little Person ended up in Time Out and The Dude provided a list of reasons why he was acting as he was, summing it up most succinctly when he added “I’m tired and I’m grumpy.” (Given that my sore throat required him to give up an evening of chatting with his mates enjoying a well-cooked meal in favour of freezer leftovers, and Little Person had commandeered the TV so that his sports programmes were not happening, I would be grumpy in his shoes too.) I really appreciated the advance notice an hour after he had walked in the door.

But I’m still smiling on the inside. And that is my victory. Despite the banana puke, and the sore throat, and the frustrations of frayed tempers, the tears were never near, as they have been so many times in the past. The feisty me, the happy me, the optimistic me, is back, and she had been gone so long I had forgotten what it felt like to shrug my shoulders and feel no weight dragging me under. So I know tomorrow will be better, or the day after that. I know that The Dude married one person, watched her turn into a hollow shell of herself and stayed married to her, and so will enjoy seeing the woman he married again.

I know that after so many months and years of trying so hard to count the blessings, I find them easy to spot now, and now I am counting the victories. Not just for me, but for my family. Yes I have a bug, and a grumpy Dude, and a recovering Little Person, but we all have each other, and tomorrow, we get to wake up and start over. These days, that makes me want to smile, rather than just grit my teeth.

Maybe victory smells just a little bit like banana puke today.

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