I am sitting in the front passenger seat of my husband's car on the way home from Chik Fil A. Behind me, my youngest has presumably fallen asleep or at least stopped crying. My oldest is prattling away about what she sees out her window.
There is snow. There are trees. There are Christmas lights.
Tonight is beautiful.
I am startled from my dreaminess by DH unexpectedly yelling, "Ooohhhhhh SNAP!" (What?) "BG, I bet you haven't even heard this song."
He turns up the radio.
I turn to him, the love of my life, with one eyebrow raised. He grins ear to ear.
Uncharacteristically, I start singing along.
I hitched a ride with a vending machine repair man.
I can't remember a time when I was more acutely aware of being simply happy.
"They've had the cough for about 3 weeks now," I told the phone nurse at 8:15 this morning.
"We have walk in hours from 8 to 9. Can you make it in?"
I looked from my to do list to the clock to my pajamas to the banana covered baby in the high chair to the pantsless threenager watching Sid the Science kid on the couch.
As I pulled on pants, I mapped out the best way to maximize the morning. We could pop into CVS to pick up deals, catch the 10:00 story time if it wasn't canceled, and then maybe get Chick Fil A for lunch before coming home to make the three sides I'd committed to for Thanksgiving. I could still totally win at today.
Halfway there, I realized I didn't have the library books, my CVS card and coupons, or my phone.
"Maybe we'll just go home."
Back home, with the doctor's pretty all clear on health, I asked BG what she wanted to do. "Play a game with me, go out in the snow? Playdough? Dot paint?"
"I think I just want to watch TV, mommy," she said, melting into the couch.
I sighed, turned on Sesame Street, kissed her on the head, set the baby on the floor and started chopping celery and onions.
After a second cup of coffee, with my sides made and my bathrooms cleaned and my children both miraculously napping, I wrote. I sat down with my notebook, set a timer for 15 minutes and filled pages. I wrote about loss and fear and longing. I sat in the quiet house and stared at the wall for a few minutes after.
Then I broke my Internet fast. Checked in on twitter and facebook and google chat. Felt relieved and ashamed and anxious and desperate to please and grateful and all the usual feelings that if anyone felt them all at the same time, they'd explode.
I didn't explode.
I messaged a dear friend and had a vulnerable conversation. I worried that I'd said the wrong thing. I was grateful for her presence in my life, grateful for the Internet and social media that made it possible for me to know such amazing people, even as it filled me with doubt and confusion and hustling. Grateful and confused and happy.
I looked around the house, at the uncolored Thanksgiving coloring pages I had printed, at the half folded laundry on the hallway floor, at the full dishwasher and the dinner uncooked, at the Thanksgiving sides I had made, at my two coughing and sniffly but otherwise perfect little girls, at the computer containing my work and my world and my dear dear friends and half my sanity.
DH called. "Do you want to go out for dinner?"
"Maybe, yeah. I promised the girls Chick Fil A earlier."
Every day is a winding road.
I get a little bit closer
Every day is a faded sign
I get a little bit closer to feeling fine.