A Girl's Weekend: Sunday was the Best Day

Our weekend started on Thursday.  Rich was leaving to Kernville for his annual Mountain Bike / Beer / Brah (Boys Only) Fest at 2PM and I was up all Wednesday night with a splitting headache.  Couldn’t get comfortable, nothing made it go away, if-Mom-called-I-would-cry -- kind of headache.  

Well, to be fair, I did cry.  When the girls got up and did their innocent yet relentless baby bird pecking at mamma bird wondering what they can have for breakfast.  I just lost it, silent sob style, because their little voices hurt my head and it was killing me, in more ways than one: that I couldn’t handle it; that they were just doing what they always did; that the headache in the silent of the night alone was a scream.  Rich helped, I showered, the steam didn’t do magic as I had hoped.  Neither did the Sinus Headache meds, nor did the warm bean bag, the hot washcloth, the 2.5 hr nap I took with the girls, the Medicine Ball hot tea that Rich brought home so thoughfully.  Staying still didn’t help.  Moving made it worse.  I don’t remember what I made the girls for dinner but I remember feeling crummy about the day the girls must have had with me as their mother.  I went to bed one minute after they did. 


Friday I had to work for a half-day.  I figured I’d go, try my best and cut out early if it was too much.  I was waiting for fever and chills, for a sinus infection to validate my self pitty and intolerable pain!  Do we get wimpier as we get older?  Or do we just have so much on our plate that being sick so readily makes it crash down on the slate floors?  I’m not sure if it was the distraction of work, or the OTC sinus medications able to take better effect than the day prior, or the fact that no one knew how bad I had it the day before by just looking at me (therefore self-pitty couldn’t take over), but I mustered through the headache, sat down frequently and couldn’t get home fast enough.  The girls had already napped, so I dozed in and out of them playing and fighting and finally decided to be a real mom and figure something out for dinner.  We went to Dukes, my attire easily mistaken for pajamas with a sweater robe and beanie, or a poorly put-together hippie.  Tortilla soup for dinner; the girls were great for me.  Then to Fresh and Easy for some groceries for breakfast the next day and some TYLENOL.  Since the boss gave me the night off of covering the Football game, I decided early on that it was going to be a movie night.  AKA: you girls sit right by me so I know where you are while I doze off.  It worked.  I’ll go so far as to admit I agreed to let them watch it again (only 70 minutes long) up in my bed.  AKA: you girls lay down right next to me so I know where you are while I zonk out.  It, too, worked.  

Saturday I woke up optimistic.  Hot cocoa and confetti pancakes for the girls, my guilt-inspired promise that I would return to their normal (average) mother. Tea for me (when I don’t want coffee I know it’s baaad).  Played puzzles strategically laying down, I was a half-present mom.  Little park for some swinging, then took the girls to the duck pond. Between the duck poop everywhere and fearing that they would throw the bread so hard they’d get off-balance and fall in, my headache was only moderately exacerbated by the increased bloodflow and self-induced stress.  


We had gotten back in the car to drive up and eat at the restaurant by the duck pond, Hadley had her sun-glasses, Maycee asked to hold them, Hadley said no.  I felt Maycee’s tension and looked back to see that she had grabbed them from her, and quickly gave them back to her -- so quickly that I was unsure about what I had seen.  I asked her if she had taken Hadley’s glasses from her and she said no.  And then I asked her if she was telling me the truth, did she take Hadley’s glasses, and she said no again.  I gave her a firm definition of lie vs truth, and gave her one more chance.  This time she said no, again, but with eyebrows raised, chin tucked in, with too much attitude to be the truth.  She lied to me 3 times in a row.  I spoke to her more firmly than you’d believe my headache could tolerate about the fact that she should never lie to me.  Hadley started echoing what I was saying, leaning forward with her stern eyebrows and puffed out lips directed at Maycee, all in the security of their buckled up carseats.  

I wanted to storm her home but home = pitiful place where my head had ached for 2 days, and I needed to return some clothes at the mall, so I decided it was punishment enough not to eat at the duck pond, as it was her idea to do so in the first place.  

Boy did she cry and cry and cry.  I’m sorry Mom, I didn’t mean to lie.  Yes Maycee you did mean to.  You can be sorry, but you meant to lie.  And then she had to listen to my lecture about trust and lies vs truth.  I tend to get a little wordy (I know, hard to imagine as your in your 6th paragraph of this post).  Need to work on that.  

So in between sobs she asks me, “so, you don’t trust me, Mom?”.  At that moment I felt torn: I felt validated that she knew what I was lecturing her about; but I also felt bad, that she felt untrustworthy.  LIKE SHE WAS 'UNTRUSTWORTHY MAYCEE'.  It was a heavy pit for me.  I didn’t want her to feel like she would never be forgiven, that she was done, that she was nothing.  So I struggled through an explanation ... something about trusting her less each time she lies, but that I want to trust her... I think she really only understood what she wanted to hear, that her mother can trust her (AKA, to a 4 year-old, that her mother LOVES her).  We dropped the subject for whatever reason and I wondered a few times after if it was handled correctly, if I could have done better.  If the right point was understood.  If I did permanent damage.  We returned clothes, ate dinner.  I was feeling tired, but Target to get a movie for another movie night was worth the stretch.  Tinkerbell (cute!!), in bed by 8PM.

Sunday.  Thank goodness for Sunday.  Woke up with NO headache!!!  {Actually, I was up at 2AM -- and in the mind-real that happens at that time of morning, I thought of starting this blog and calling it Pinecones and Pineapples!} The lack of headache alone changed my perspective on things.  On life, really (and dramatically, I understand).  And specific to my day with hubby being gone: being a present mother in the lives of 2 girls who got less than a patient, calm, in-the-moment mother the previous 3 days, felt like a privilege and a piece of cake!  Puzzles, 8 of them.  Bike ride to big park with picnic in tow, sprinklers outside (yes it was 80+ deg), naps (nope, not me this time!), swimming, dinners by candlelight, and ... DADDY’S HOME SOON!!!!  

While the girls were bathing, I caught up on a facebook post from a lady I don’t know, but started following.  I think she is great for posing great questions / thoughts / quotes on being a present parent, an Awake Parent.  She, apparently, had had a great Sunday and posed the question, “What made your Sunday great?”.  Oh, there were things too many to respond.  

  • No headache. 
  • The way Maycee looked at me while we were having our picnic that, after a few seconds of a mutual glance, involuntarily caused me to wink at her...and her to involuntary smile in return.  And how she then, turned to Hadley and told her she loved her, all this while crunching on a cucumber and tomato salad.  
  • How Hadley rode her strider bike and kept up with us for half the trip!
  • How Maycee protected Hadley from the boy with a long piece of grass at the park. 
  • How Hadley followed and shadowed l i t e r a l l y every little thing Maycee did.  
  • Hide and seek, where they don’t hide so well, then pretend they can’t find me when I don’t hide so well.  

But the best part of the day (after the best part that Daddy came home), was when I tucked Maycee in at night.  

And for whatever reason it dawned on me, and the words came, 

“Maycee, I want you to know that I do trust you”.  

Oh, the involuntary smile and the strength of her hug made me feel like something went waaaaay right.  

I know that I will catch Maycee in another lie.  Not because she is a “liar”; but because she is 4 and will make many more mistakes.

You know, I have always felt like, when our kids are sick ... despite the stress of figuring out schedules and who can take work off, and whether this fever is the kind of fever I can go to work for or need to stay home for, and whether we need to take her to the doctor ... it is really Mother Nature’s way of giving us parents a chance to slow down, nurture, care for, and give our undivided attention to THEM.  

But I didn’t know what to think about PARENTS being sick until it kicked me in the a$$.  But now that it’s officially and thankfully passed, I have a theory about parents being sick.  It sucks every little bit of reserve energy we have, it brings out the snippy in us, the neglectfulness, the whines, the impatience, the lack of creativity, the lack of presence.  But, boy oh boy, when it passes, it brings a renewed energy and appreciation for the simple things, for the small joys, for the human connections that were missed or overlooked because we could only connect with our pain and sickness before.  I am so thankful that headache started on Thursday and left me alone, with my girls, on Sunday.  It was the best day.  

 © Houseman 2013