because, as usual, there’s just too much to put in one post.
saturday was wretched.
duck threw up on the way out to LEAF and I had to pull the car over onto one of those teeny shoulder spots, then keep her away from the poison ivy while she finished being sick. she got half-digested strawberry all over her white dress and pretty much everything else in a two-foot radius. i had to decide (right there on the side of a winding mountain road, while keeping duck out traffic and out of the ick) whether to keep going into LEAF or just turn back. it was a gamble - was she going to be sick again or would we make it?
i had come prepared for some eventualities. there were some on-the-old-side-dried-out wipes in the back of the car, a bottle of water, her towel, and a full change of clothes. so that was a start.
we cleaned up a bit and kept going. (usually with stomach bugs she throws up once and gets it out of her system.) we stopped at the big grocery store in black mountain and got dish soap, hand sanitizer, and surface cleaning wipes to deal with the car seat. I tried to wash out the dress but couldn't get it all out. i was heartbroken about that dress – it was a gift from a dear friend, and duckie looked absolutely beautiful in it. sadly, i had to write it off.
by then, duck was feeling much better and so wouldn't listen to a damn thing i said. this was a test of maternal patience that i failed miserably.
moving on to LEAF. the parking lot at the nearby high school had filled up 15 minutes before we got there. so she wasn't able to ride the shuttle bus like i had promised her. we had to park in hell and walk into the festival. it rained off and on all day. throughout the day she was feverish and not herself. brian, of course, being the great dad that he is, took over a couple of times and let me get some breathing room. we stayed for dinner then stumbled back to the car around 9:30 (although it felt much later.)
strangely, it was this moment of extreme exhaustion that marked the turnaround. brian escorted us back to the car (which really was in hell, by the way, i wasn’t imagining things) and it really helped me feel less alone in the whole blasted endeavor. i borrowed some of his gentle good humor and we somehow managed to find the car.
on the way home i found that i had reached that state of fatigue and stress that took me almost out of body – there’s a scary word for it called “depersonalization” and it happens to me occasionally, when i’m having seriously bad days. this was close, but not quite. it was enough to keep me separated from the weariness enough to stay awake for the ride home.
as for duckie, she was asleep in maybe three minutes and snored all the way home. she barely woke up from the car to the bedroom. i took a half an hour to prep coffee, take my medicine and make one more effort to wash the dress. what the hell, it couldn’t hurt, right?
so i made the effort, and then collapsed gratefully into the soft, clean sheets of my own cozy bed. anyone ever use those jersey sheets, you know, the ones made out of t-shirt material? they just get softer and softer with age, and these are several years old. It was bliss.
and, sweet victory, the dress came clean. in between the initial washing at the grocery store, the oxyclean treatment at home, and a quick wash in the machine with the rest of the laundry from the Day from Hell, it came out of the dryer the next morning spotless and shining, sparkling white.
duckie came in to visit while i was taking my shower. i said, “honey, go hang out in the living room and have some juice so i can get ready. we have to leave soon to go back to LEAF.”
those crystal blue-grey eyes got really wide. “LEAF?” she said. “again? Oh, YAY!” she squealed, literally jumping with joy.
“yes, darling. and your white dress is clean, so you can wear it today.”
“you got the strawberries off it?”
“yup. clean as a whistle.”
her outrageously joyful reaction was absolutely worth the ten minutes spent the night before.