I was ready, today, for life to Get Back To Normal.
So I guess it should come as a surprise to no one that–after tucking the kids into bed, prepping the backpacks and lunchbags for camp tomorrow–I headed out to the deck. To throw large hunks of flesh onto my grill.
Yup. It was all verrrrrry normal. Rib?
Okay, let’s back it up. This morning, I woke up ready to count down the minutes until it was time to go fetch the children (who had gotten back into town late last night). I would bound out of bed! Accomplish my remaining household tasks! Go to church! Joyfully reunite with my babies!
Or, just, um, have a really bad stomach ache. Have you ever had that sort of dreadful stomach ache where you KNOW it’s psychosomatic and totally stupid and realizing that makes it GO AWAY? Me neither. Knowing I’m suffering from psychosomatic illness just makes me feel sick AND stupid, rather than curing what ails me. Go figure.
This meant I stayed in bed longer than I’d planned, and moved a lot slower than I should’ve, once I finally got up. By all accounts, today would be a great day… but I was back in the grip of the anxiety that plagued me a few weeks back. Why? I have not the faintest clue. Let’s review the possible anxiety-provoking issues I could’ve been having this morning:
1) It’s Sunday morning. Aaahhhh! How horrifying! (Ummm. No.)
2) I haven’t finished all the stuff I meant to do this week. Aaaahhhh! (Hmmm. That’s a possibility, I guess.)
3) What if the children had so much fun when they were gone that they don’t want to come home with me at all? Aaahhhhh! (Okay, even a drama queen such as myself realizes how stupid this sounds.)
4) What if the children are just as annoying now as they were when they left? Aaahhhhhh!!! (Slightly more plausible, but really, I wasn’t being that cynical first thing in the morning.)
5) What if there’s one of those Sigourney Weaver aliens in my stomach and it pops out and EATS the children? (Okay, to be fair, that was a post-tummyache thought….)
Anyway, if I ever had half a clue as to why I feel the way I do, that would likely be very useful. But let’s not hold our breath on it, just yet. For one thing, I don’t need anyone turning blue, and for another thing, I’m sure my therapist wants to keep paying her mortgage.
I pulled myself together and fully planned to fetch the kids and bring them home for a nice mellow day around the house, to let them wind down and relax and enjoy being home. Then we received an invitation to swim and barbeque for the day. I wavered. I told my friend I needed to get the kids, and I’d let her know.
The reunion was lovely. Children velcroed themselves to me and talked over each other to make sure I heard all the highlights of the last ten days condensed into 30 seconds. Then they wanted to know what we were gonna do. Well, I told them, I was thinking we could just go home and chill out, but if they wanted to go swimming–
“SWIMMING! SWIMMING! Let’s go swimming!”
So we went swimming. And what was supposed to be a couple of hours ended up being most of the day, and the kids were happily occupied and I felt a little bit better and life was good. We thanked our hosts and finally headed home. Whereupon my anxiety level started climbing, again. Why? No idea. Maybe a small part of my brain was screaming “You IDIOT, you had 10 child-free days and you did NOTHING and now they’re back and you BLEW IT!” I mean, I don’t remember hearing that, but it’s possible.
The evening went unbelievably smoothly. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the atavan I took. It’s just that the kids love me SO MUCH and were so happy to be home. Yeah, that’s it. Oh, well, there was that thing where Monkey rocked his glider so hard, it ended up flipping over onto his head. That was probably tragic. For him, I mean. For me, it was more like:
“Honey, you know how when you rock really hard in the chair, and I tell you not to do that? Yeah? Well this is why.”
That’s not really the same as saying “I told you so.” Without the atavan, I probably just would’ve said “I told you so.”
Eventually everyone was bathed and brushed and pajamaed and storied and tucked in. I want to say “it’s good to have them back home” but that seems sort of like biting into a Godiva truffle and saying “this is sort of chocolatey.” Hell, it was even good to go up and down the stairs several times to stick my head into Chickadee’s room and say “GET IN BED AND GO TO SLEEP” while she pretended to be asleep, even though moments before I’d heard her little herd-of-buffalo feet running back and forth in there.
So I did a few chores and then remembered that I’d planned to grill tonight. My fridge held a large dish of marinating meat that needed to be cooked. Oops. Well, hey. No problem. I could grill it tonight, and reheat it tomorrow. So I sat on the deck and grilled a bunch of pig. The sun was setting and bugs were biting and my mind was on overdrive and spinning in circles. I sat, and tended the fire, and kept an eye out for emerging fireflies.
I suspect I have many miles ahead of me.
But tonight, I have my babies home, safe and sound. And I have some REALLY good ribs, ready for reheating tomorrow night. I hope my stomach doesn’t hurt, then.