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
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
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
"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
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.
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