Moms Don’t Get Vacations

I took some time off from work this week, with a three-pronged goal of preparing for my new job, finishing my (second) master’s thesis and enjoying some bit of relaxation and/or celebration as a (mostly) free birthday gift to myself .

I had everything planned for the perfect week.  My husband was leaving town Friday for a five day/four night shoot in Mt. Whitney, which meant that I would have luxurious time alone to work or write or run or relax anytime the baby was asleep or elsewhere, and he would get home just in time for me to not feel lonely as I stared down the barrel at thirty-five.  I enlisted the help of my mom to give me time on Saturday afternoon, scheduled the babysitter to give me time on Sunday morning, coordinated with my dad to help with the daycare commute during the week.  I made appointments, made to do lists, made my off week exercise plan (in which I am not required to wake up at 5:30 in order to get in a run before work).  My husband made a double batch of veggie chili, stocked the fridge with my favorite beers, and sent me text messages alerting me to when I needed to turn on any given baseball game in time to catch all the exciting developments.

Friday night was nice.  I drank beer, watched tv that would elicit nothing but jeering had my husband been around, started cleaning out my den closet (the closet that became the repository for all things unplaceable after our move last summer).  I did some non-blog-related writing (what a treat!), did some non-school-related reading.  I got a jump on some of my word for the coming week.  I was so productive and so relaxed that I stayed up way too late, but figured the baby would give me a couple extra hours in bed in the morning, since she herself had gone to sleep later than usual.  Bad assumption.  She was up bright and early (though I’m not really sure where this saying comes from, because in my world, if it’s bright outside when I wake up that usually means I’ve fallen into a coma or something really terrible has happened to make me sleep through my alarm).

Just a minor sprain

Despite the early rise, Saturday started well.  Koukla helped me make eggs, smeared melted cheese all over her hair, got dressed for music class without resistance, banged drums and shook shakers with the best of them.  After class Koukla went to Yia Yia’s house, while I ran toddler-free errands, cleaned the house without a child or husband spilling anything in the vacuum’s wake, and plowed through nearly ten pages of my thesis (only 90 pages left to go!).  After Koukla came home, we changed, snacked, and snuggled, then decided to take a tricycle ride to the park.  Which was awesome.  Until she got off her tricycle and was limping like Tiny Tim.

I let Koukla convince me to stay at the park with her excuse that she wasn’t hurt, she was just “walking like a silly elephant,” which I thought maybe was a game she had learned at school.  But pretty soon I wasn’t buying her excuses and our tricycle outing turned into me walking home with an unhappy toddler under one arm and a jingly jangly tricycle under my other arm.

The limp was worse in the morning.  Instead of going for a run and writing another twenty pages of my thesis, the babysitter was cancelled, Pappou and Yia Yia called, and off to urgent care we went.  Three hours, two exams, and one x-ray later, we went home with an ace bandage and instructions to follow up in a few days.

Crackers While We WaitMonday was my mother’s birthday.  I had hoped to take her to lunch, maybe a manicure, maybe a shopping stroll down South Lake Avenue.  Instead I dropped the baby off with her and went home to sleep.  Not to work on my paper.  Not to relax.  Not to read up on accreditation standards for NASAD, NASM, or NAST (there is nothing we registrars love more than a good acronym).  To sleep.  Because on Sunday night, the baby would not go to bed.  She missed her dad.  Her foot was hurting.  She was generally feeling funky.  And so the only way to get her to sleep was to sleep next to her, on the floor, with a too flat pillow and a too stiff blanket and a sound machine whirring in my ear.  The next morning the baby was still limping, which meant no daycare.  So my mom, to celebrate her 65th birthday, did something that was probably not too far off from what she did to celebrate her 35th birthday – care for an unwell child.

After eating, showering, taking a short, restless rest, I sat down to work.  Almost immediately my phone started to buzz.  Now Koukla had a fever, so to the doctor we went.  Fever, lethargy, slight rash, sensitive eyes, sore right foot.  Koukla was a mess.

Correctly anticipating the long night ahead, I set up the air mattress next to her crib with clean sheets, soft blankets, perfect pillows.  Two hours later Koukla was throwing up all over it.  Koukla was a mess, and now so was I, literally.

After cleaning up the bed, the baby, and myself, I managed a few hours of fitful sleep on the air mattress with ill-fitting sheets and dusty blankets from the Goodwill box.  I finally woke to the Koukla standing over me saying “Mommy, it’s time to get up please,” feeling a million times better, ready to rumble.  I, on the other hand, was so very much worse for the wear.

Yesterday my husband came home.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  Today the decompression began.  And all I want for my birthday is to go back to work!

Now it's my turn

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8 thoughts on “Moms Don’t Get Vacations

  1. Oh, no! Why, oh why, oh why?! Someone among us must actually live the dream, right? Schedule a vacation, line up the babysitter, have everyone be healthy, all the pieces falling into place? Instead of all the pieces lying on the floor next to your pile of blankets and the sound machine…
    I’m so sorry your week went like this. My doctor would say, “It’s not like I told you you have Parkinson’s!” Which is really his ass-ish way of saying things will get better with time. But still, I’m sorry your “best laid schemes of mice and men” went so awry. Wishing you a healthy child, a strong drink, a fattening cake and a good night’s rest for your birthday (plus maybe 40 pages of your writing to magically be done by cobbler’s elves?)

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    1. You know, I read your post about shingles right after I posted this piece, and I was like, Geez, and here I am whining about not getting a vacation… Though I do think there are some mothers who manage to actually get all of the pieces in place, schedule all the people they need to schedule and all the things they need to do, and then just execute – smooth sailing plus a manicure. I think my sister-in-law is one of these creatures, for example. For me, though, I should have just kept with the slog. Bad luck to wish for too much else, right?
      BUT – soon enough my child was healthy (and back to running circles around me), I did have strong drink (or several), and I did eat some fattening cake (and then some). And at the end of the day, my 35th birthday was exactly what it should have been – a celebration of my life as I know it now, without actually forgetting that this crazy life I’ve built keeps going even when it’s inconvenient.

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    1. Babies just know when you have a deadline, don’t they? I guess the upside is that in my work life I know I can handle anything at all that gets thrown at me – deadline was yesterday, computer has broken, and nobody’s slept all week? That’s where I really excel after all this practice with my daughter!

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      1. haa haa! I know right! It’s a good thing mom’s know how to multi task because I know some people who would freak and would just give up.

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    1. Ha ha, yes, well, if my daughter turns out anything like me (fingers crossed she doesn’t), she’s going to keep me busy (and terrified) at least till she’s thirty… My golden years are looking pretty nice though – at least I have something to look forward to 🙂

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