Originally posted Feb. 4, 2008
A healthy dump of fresh snow, a slippery slope and a stranger's stalled car threatened to block my path to freedom this morning, but they were no match for me.
While humming the theme song to Mission Impossible, I backed down the slope, drove around two cars (seems someone else was more content than I to let the light turn red while the stalled car blocked the way) and barreled through the dregs of a wannabe snowbank left behind by a city plow. The kids giggled. They've heard this tune a few times before. I was a mommy on a mission and refused to fail. Getting them to school today was not optional.
I needed a break from the madness. It all started last Monday.
Holly stayed home sick that day. Usually excited about going to school, she was pale and sneezy, coughy and wheezy, so I tucked her into my bed after filling her with vitamin C. She napped all morning, but after a lunch of chicken soup (no, I didn't make it myself) she became so bored with resting and cuddling with Mommy that she cut up felt squares into teeny weeny scraps and left them all over the living room - and somehow dusted the whole mess with crushed frosted flakes. That's what it looked like, anyway. I'm not exactly sure of her methods as I had my back to her and typed the whole time. A deadline loomed and I didn't want to interrupt my train of thought to lodge a fruitless plea that she cease and desist, so I let it go.
But it was back-to-school for her on Tuesday.
By Friday, the snow day, a new layer of crap threatened to trip us all up. But the day was grand, in spite of it. The kids built a snow tunnel and ate chocolate for lunch, but left their wrappers everywhere. They went sledding then shed their wet snow gear in a heap by the door. We played Blokus. Great game, but the game pieces stayed scattered after someone bailed. Orange peels were left to rot on the coffee table, and string cheese wrappers and an apple core ended up in my bed, along with a yogurt container discovered much later. A veritable picnic. I begged the kids to watch Walton's re-runs with me and they opted for Zack and Cody, but otherwise it was a fabulous, cozy day.
But the place looked like hell.
Sure, the kids should've cleaned up after themselves, but coercing them to do so would've ruined my day. Sometimes it's easier to do it yourself, you know? To top it all off, I caught Holly's cold. I just didn't feel like messing with the mess.
But now it's Monday again. The novelty of an extra day of hangin' evaporated, and Holly's scraps of felt consorted with new frosted flakes - along with crushed oyster crackers and half-eaten hunks of candy from the gingerbread-house-kit-we-forgot-to-build-but-which-the-kids-re-discovered-Saturday and left - under the beleaguered dining room table groaning under layers of God-only-knows-what, left there by my kids.
It was ugly.
It was a close call, but the kids didn't get a snow day today! How sick am I? I was actually psyched about the possibility that I might get to clean up after the cyclone that hit here last week and have a chance to bliss-out and enjoy a tidy home alone for a few hours (Has it really come to this? Does that silliness actually bring me joy?). I practically whistled as I cleaned snow off the car this morning, and after my Mission Impossible moment a few minutes later pulled up in front of my kids' school, victorious. Thanks to a loose part on my 10-year-old Ford, we even had something akin to jingle-bells heralding our arrival. A nice touch, really.
"Have a great day guys! I love you!" I sang, joy in my heart, as the kids tromped through the snow toward a long six-hour day and I naively headed for home to another Mission Impossible.
Bliss out? Not so much. I was too pooped to even brew a cup of tea. That's just dumb.
Next time? I'll crank up the tunes and make it fun. Heck, maybe I'll even plant little prizes in the piles of crap the kids leave all over the place, to motivate them to play "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere." Remember that dang Barney tune? I'll even sing it again. "Clean up. clean up, everybody do your share." I'm that desperate.
The kids are pitching in, come hell or high water.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.