Mother Nature always gets the last laugh. You’re better off learning to laugh along.
I shot into this week like a cannonball. Sunday evening, I felt very Kanye West — pretty damned important and pleased with myself. And that’s not a slam on Kanye. I’m probably the one white mom in America who feels his attitude is entirely earned. I mean, that guy just puts out hit, after hit, after hit. I aspire to that kind of spectacularity.
But this halfway introverted, closeted brooding artist can’t shoulder that type of continuous confidence. I buckle at the first sign of distress. So, although a two-hour visioning call with my gloriously talented (and gorgeous, to boot) friend, Tamra — a former business coach turned Interior Intuitive spacial guru — had me flying exceptionally, Icarus-ly high, feeling like the next Oprah and shiot, my attitude was due for some serious humbling. With all that puffed-up energy brewing inside of me, I was in for a pretty big blow.
And thankfully, Mother Nature did it for me. My timely upset came at the hands of her surprisingly staunch winter cocktail of germs. For this, I’m thankful, because I was afforded the opportunity to nurse my deflated confidence in isolation, rather than, say, in the company of friends who might remember that sort of thing. Nobody likes a whiner, especially one who thinks she’s Oprah.
Somehow, only my sweet Junie and I caught the nasty, snotty head cold, leading my husband to jokingly label our disease a “women’s germ.” And jokes are so welcomed when my brains are trumpeting out of my nose. Reduced to a bitter, Gollum-esque shell of a person, jealous of anybody with clear sinuses, I watched as my husband and son skipped through the week unscathed. Meanwhile, I was losing precious work time, missing out on my Big Chance to do… something big. I just knew the next “Eat, Pray, Love” was somewhere inside of me, and this, THIS was the week I’d bang it out.
My Monday work slot slipped away as I lay in bed, alone and dying. No matter. The kids were due for all-day preschool on Wednesday, giving me a full eight hours to create my masterpiece. But Wednesday arrived to find me still in my bathrobe, unshowered, and deeply unhappy. I spent ten minutes that afternoon journaling, a desperate attempt to siphon out the raging tempest inside me that threatened to explode onto the next small human (or fully grown man) who requested another snack. The disappointment was just too much. I scrawled a few illegible lines — something about a beach, some pirate treasure, and my last will and testament — before passing out on a pile of moist tissues.
Thursday, my anger gave way to despondency. Finally, after cycling through the latest season of Modern Family enough times to truly appreciate Cam’s wild shirts, a sense of calm won out. More like I finally surrendered to the shit, or “embraced the suck,” as my military husband would say. I waved the white flag, and accepted that, at least for this one week of my life, I’m just a mom — and a mediocre one, at that. I know I’m only human, but it really seems like a cultured woman in her thirties should be able to rise above the flu without morphing into a particularly pissed off version of Gary Busey. I’d hit rock bottom, and I knew what needed to be done.
Thursday evening, while my husband began the delicate five-hour dance of putting our three-year-old to bed, I drew a bath, sprinkled in a few Epsom salts, put the first “Twilight” movie on my phone, and carefully wedged it into a crack in the tub molding. I lay there and watched the first few scenes, comforted by the gray, gloomy scenery and somber music, sentimentally recalling the Kristen Stewart- Robert Pattinson “will they/ won’t they” heydays, and wondering what ol’ Robby Pat is up to these days? Then, I watched my phone take a nosedive into the water, and congratulated myself on the decision to buy a Lifeproof case. If I can make good, sound decisions like that, surely I’m capable of some measure of success in the world. Right?
I shaved my lower legs, pondering the exciting lives of other women who have the time and attention to include their thighs. Hearing my husband enter Phase Four of the bedtime ritual, “Complete Breakdown,” I wrapped my wet hair in a towel and emerged from the bathroom prepared to take on the world, but settled for snake charming a willful, leprechaun-sized boy into bed.
Friday morning, I woke up with the same pounding sinus headache, but also with a new resolve. My kids slept until 7:00am, so we all felt refreshed-ish. Everybody jumped into mom and dad’s bed to read Calvin and Hobbes, the husband and I enjoyed our coffee, and all was (much closer to) right with the world. My husband took our son to school, my daughter and I nursed our runny noses on the couch with Curious George, and I felt ready to write again. Today’s the day, no more time waste. My destiny awaits, and even Mother Nature, in all her fury, can’t hold me back.
And then I started my period. Well played, Mother Nature, well played.