Labor(ed) Day weekend
Holiday weekends: I’ve had better. I don’t know if Mercury was in retrograde, or some other cosmic phrase I know absolutely nothing about, but stuff was WHACK. It was full of the kind of days where you wake up to the sound of toddler head making contact with adult head and an expletive and then things go downhill from there until everyone is mad at everyone else and you’re questioning your decision to just hang out and chill for the long weekend, because that couldn’t be farther from what is happening within the walls of this (small, has it always been this small?) house.
I’ve decided that we still haven’t figured out how to stay on the bull in this three-kid rodeo. Sometimes we’re able to hang on for like, five whole seconds, and we start feeling pretty badass, like Look at us, we’re cowboy parents, yeeeehaw! And then the baby trips and cracks his forehead open on a window sill and we’re bumbling around trying to figure out who we call and who takes him where and wait, who is going to take care of the other kids? And the 8-year old is crying on the floor in his bedroom because he thinks it was his fault (it wasn’t) and you need to be an 8-year-old’s parent right then, but you also need to be a 15-month old’s parent, too—you know, the one bleeding from the head. So you hold the bleeding one while reassuring the crying one while trying to find your insurance card while debating who should drive to the urgent care center … and none of this even involves the other one, who is trying hard to conjure tears, just to be included. That’s when you realize you’re face down in the mud and a clown is distracting your bull so you can get out of the ring to start the whole ride over again.
(Side note: And this is with two of us. I can’t even fathom the single parent show. I have no idea how that works, you guys. I think we should just send them buckets of cash. And wine.)
Max, who indeed did fall and split his adorable head open on Sunday night, is in that blissful stage of Abandonment to True Feelings, aka, toddlerhood. When he does not like something, he lets you know. When he feels like things are going well, he swings his arms back and forth, happy-style, or plants a kiss right on your mouth with a mmmmmmWAH. No mysteries there. No emotional mind games. And so after we had plodded through hospital reception, and triage, and a second waiting room, and getting his vitals taken, and more waiting room, and our own personal room for over an hour, and had his temperature taken, arm squeezed, head prodded, wound washed, body restrained, and skin glued, he leaned down out of my hold and walked to the door with arms outstretched, repeating tearfully, AWW DONE. AWW DONE.
I got it then, and I get it now—he was over it and I was over it and our whole family spent the whole weekend feeling OVER IT just like that, trapped in a place we couldn’t escape.
Luckily, happily, gratefully, though, the work week seems to have suddenly snapped us all into a state far less grim. Maybe we got a good night’s sleep, maybe some other planet is doing some other cosmic thing. I don’t know. But Tuesday felt like one long sigh of relief. In the morning with glued together heads and muddy cowboy faces we went our separate ways, all of us not-so-secretly giddy that we could sweep this weekend behind us and be AWW DONE.
That night at dinner, we passed around the fried chicken and asked about each other’s days, inexplicably glad to be back together again.