Murphy’s Law states that if anything can go wrong it will at the worst possible moment. Like losing irreplaceable items or kids being sick while one’s spouse is out of town and can’t help, or even be a shoulder to cry on. Welcome to my week.
Feel free to pull out your violin after breaking off a hunk of cheese to go with my whine. It’s been quite the adventure around here.
Normally I wouldn’t point this fact out, but it just adds to everything to admit I started my period the day before Heath left for Seattle. In the last year it seems that most every business trip has been ironically booked for that special week when my hormones are out of control and I either yell or cry over everything. The trips are not planned by Heath. He’s just happy to be away from me in that one week where men feel completely helpless.
On Monday afternoon I had an appointment with Parker’s teacher. She had scheduled every family for a 10 minute get to know you meeting. I told Gavin I wouldn’t be home when he got home. He can let himself in but I thought I would give him a heads up regarding my absence.
Once we got home that afternoon we all called out to Gavin. No answer. The meeting was faster than I thought but we were still home later than when Gavin normally arrives. Thinking he was upstairs I stood in the front entryway and called his name. There was some movement outside. I opened the door thinking Gavin had just arrived. He was sitting on the front step surrounded by the contents of his backpack. He looked at me and said the worst words in the English language.
“I lost my key.”
You would think I would freak out. I should have. Instead I was calm as could be. He admitted he was careless and didn’t put his lanyard in his backpack once he got on the bus. Later he told me he put the lanyard in his pants pocket instead of his backpack. It must have slipped out of his pocket on the bus since it didn’t seem to exist anywhere else.
I grabbed his bus booklet and quickly found the number for the Lost and Found. Not knowing what else to do I called the number. Remember me? The woman who would do anything to avoid using a telephone to speak directly to a person? Yes, I called. I had to. His lanyard had his bus pass ($60), his student ID card ($5 to replace), and his house key (about $5 for the copy but kind of priceless since it allows someone access to our house). The only place these priceless pieces of plastic and metal seemed to be was on the bus.
The driver claimed she had already done her daily check of the bus and didn’t see anything. She said she would check again and I was told to call back in a few minutes. When I called back I was told that nothing was found. Maybe one of the other students picked it up for him, dispatch suggested.
I felt numb. Numb and lost. What in the world was I going to do? I couldn’t even call Heath because he was in the air flying to a conference in Seattle and wouldn’t be home until Friday. Numb and lost for sure. I went outside and walked to the bus stop scanning the bushes and gutter along the way. I stopped and peered down all three storm drains. Nothing.
Gavin felt horrible. There was no need to lecture or yell. What good would it do? The damage was done and there was nothing to do but wait until the next day to see if his friend really did pick up the lanyard. All I knew of this Austin kid was that he only rides in the afternoon and the boys have no classes together.
I came up with some band-aid solutions. Gavin would pay cash out of his own money to ride the bus – $2 each way. He would have to work to earn the cash for a new bus pass and a new student ID card. I would start sending lunches with him again until he got a new student ID card. There was still a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. The key to our house was out there somewhere. My other plan was to have Gavin ask the neighbors for a student directory to find Austin. When Heath landed and saw my frantic texts he pointed out that if Austin is a 6th grader we can’t find him. The new directories probably haven’t come out yet.
I asked Gavin how he knew Austin. Did they meet on the bus? Is he also in 6th grade? Gavin said he has known Austin for years. They went to the same elementary school. Relief flooded over me as I grabbed our old student directory. We found his name and Gavin called.
The weight of the world was lifted. Not just from me but from all the kids too. They knew how important this stuff was. We jumped in the van and, despite my low tire warning, drove to Austin’s house. I got a little lost in the neighborhood. The setting sun directly in my line of sight didn’t help. But we finally found his house. The heavens opened and angels started singing the Hallelujah Chorus.
At dinner I prayed. I thanked Heavenly Father for the blessing of finding the lanyard and for Austin’s honesty in holding it for Gavin. At bedtime Gavin prayed. He also thanked Heavenly Father for helping us find the lanyard. Then he publicly repented in his prayer. It was so sweet and so sincere. Not necessary in front of all of us but it was obvious that boy couldn’t wait to ask for forgiveness and promise to never do it again. He knows to zip up the precious lanyard in his backpack as soon as he sits down on the bus.
In the midst of all this drama, Gwen and Parker got themselves started on their homework. Gwen was really only required to read every day. The math worksheets were optional. She did five of them while she waited for me. They were all wrong. I only had the patience and presence of mind to help her fix two. She still didn’t understand and I was frustrated. I walked away before my calm could bubble up into an unnecessary storm. We corrected the rest of the work later in the week. I was happy that something finally clicked and she finally understood what she was doing.
Tuesday morning I was bebopping my way home after dropping off Gwen and Parker at school. Gavin was still standing at the bus stop. The neighbors drove by on their way to middle school. I stopped on my side of the street to let them pass between Gavin and me. I rolled down my window so we could talk. He confirmed that he left on time and waited forever for the bus to come but hadn’t seen it yet. I told him I would check on him in a minute.
I parked in my garage and checked the bus schedule. The bus was a good 5-10 minutes late. I walked out the front door to wait with Gavin. After passing a house and a half I saw the bus. I continued to walk toward Gavin for some reason. The bus passed me and I saw it stop around the corner long enough to pick Gavin up. That’s when I decided to turn around and go back home. He was on the bus and would be late for school but he was on the bus.
The Cub Scouts had different meetings on Tuesday afternoon. Dylan isn’t a Bear yet and had a swimming activity. Parker was supposed to meet in the same place. When I couldn’t find half of Parker’s uniform, nor could I find the permission slips he forgot to give his leaders last week, I was ready to scrap Scouts for the day. Since we weren’t carpooling with Dylan we had enough time to run home after school so Parker could grab the permission slips and his hat. He didn’t know where his neckerchief slide was either.
I hate picking up because it’s at the same time that everyone is coming home from work. Drivers are so rude and obnoxious that time of day! But I picked Parker up and we survived. Gwen was a brat for Gavin and he didn’t get much homework done while I was gone. Note to self: bring Gwen with next time.
You still have that violin going? The drama hasn’t let up yet! Wednesday was shaping up to be a great day. The only thing I had to worry about was getting Gavin to piano and Scouts. No big deal. Gwen and Parker came out together after school. I love Wednesdays. Gwen said she had a headache and was really tired.
She complained the whole way home that she wasn’t feeling well. I told her to just relax for a minute. Somehow she wasn’t perking up at all. For 30 minutes after we got home she lounged on the chair looking limp and languid. This is my fair skinned beauty but she looked more pale than usual. Her forehead was hot. It was 90 degrees outside but she should have cooled down in the time we were home. I checked her temperature. It was 101.2. Oh great.
Having sick kids is never fun but all I could think of was the school picture day the next day. She had already turned in her money. Yes, there are retakes for such a situation but the class picture cannot be made up. I did not want a picture of the kids in her class with a note on the bottom where her name should be saying, “Little Miss – absent.” How could my kid be sick?
Every other day Gwen complains of some physical ailment. A sore throat, a stomach ache, headache, something. She mentions it in the morning when she gets up, before bed, and after school. In between she seems fine. This is my hypochondriac child. The kid who feigns symptoms to get medicine when her brothers are genuinely sick. She loves medicine so much it kind of worries me. I never really know when she’s sick. But Wednesday afternoon she did not look good.
I forgot to mention that on Monday afternoon she had an upset stomach. She didn’t eat any dinner and had a bout of diarrhea. Gavin had it a few days earlier but got over it quickly. She was fine on Tuesday although when I picked her up from school she was wearing different shorts. If it was a messy accident I would have been more sympathetic, but it was a wet accident. She is one of those kids who doesn’t want to stop playing to use the bathroom. She wets her pants every time she sees her cousins. It drives me nuts.
I really didn’t know what to do. School rules say that kids have to be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication before they can return to school. So many emotions were swirling inside me. I gave her Tylenol knowing it only lasts for four hours. But then I had a major panic attack. The events of the week were getting to me and I lost my mind. I tried texting Heath. He responded but not quickly because he was busy with his conference. I called my mom who could only talk for a minute before she had to leave. Then I started emailing Gwen’s teacher. First it was just to see when the pictures would be taken. Meanwhile Gwen had perked up to her normal self and you couldn’t even tell anything was ever wrong with her.
Looking back on it I guess I just needed an adult to talk to. Someone to tell me everything would be okay. Someone to tell me my plan was fine and to just stick with it. But I was second guessing myself all night. I went back and forth between wanting to send her to school in the morning as if nothing was wrong and only sending her for the picture portion of the day.
My mom told me to be upfront with the teacher. Heath told me not to do that after I did. He liked the idea of seeing how Gwen was by bedtime and checking her temperature again in the morning. If she was fine then just send her to school and no one had to know anything. It helps that Mrs. M. and I are friends. I told her everything. Including how Heath was out of town.
This was her response.
Tristan- As a mom, teacher and your friend- I’d tell you to send her to bed without meds and see how she’s doing in the am. She could just be over tired. Send her to school if she’s okay and if she’s feeling yucky in the am and can’t make it come to the picture.
It always happens when the husband is gone!
It was so sincere and sweet I cried.
The Tylenol should have worn off by 8:00 pm. Gwen was just getting out of the tub at 8:30. I wanted to get her and Parker into bed but we were all anxious for Gavin to get home from Scouts. His Scout leader agreed to bring him home so I wouldn’t have to load everyone up for the task. Gavin got home around 9:20. Apparently his meetings last longer than I thought. I’m so glad Robert brought him home!
When Gwen got out of the tub I took her temperature. It was 97 degrees. No fever. I checked again in the morning. Again 97 degrees. No fever. She seemed fine. She acted fine. She looked fine. She was excited for the school pictures. I sent her to school.
It may be a good thing I didn’t see her teacher after school. I had another meltdown and couldn’t stop crying. I was doing my scripture study and reading Broken Things to Mend by Elder Holland. It was a touching spiritual experience and I was sobbing. If I had seen Gwen’s teacher I would have hugged her to thank her for the email. And I would have melted into a fresh puddle of tears.
Gwen was the one who was crying. It’s a pain trying to find her with all the parents trying to find their kids too. Today is the last day for this whole mandatory front of the school pickup procedure. What had happened was Gwen needed to use the bathroom after school and she thought I wouldn’t find her and that I would be mad. It didn’t make sense. That’s just what she said. I just held her on my lap and let her cry. Crying is very therapeutic. She got over her good cry after several seconds and we moved on.
Parker got his Woot shirt in the mail finally. That’s a story that deserves its own post with pictures. We had breakfast for dinner again and put on the BYU football game.
I used the game as ammunition to fuel my pretend hatred for Heath for leaving on his business trip. I don’t really hate him and he knows it. He knows I’m a very emotional person and that I say things like that to make his absence easier. My brother and I fought like crazy in the weeks leading up to him leaving on his mission. We didn’t consciously do it. It just happened. We were going to miss each other so fighting about nothing seemed like a logical response.
When Heath leaves on trips he buys me Diet Coke and tells me he’s sorry I hate him. This time I kept telling him I didn’t hate him. I love him but I hate when he has to leave. On Monday I reverted to my old ways. When he pulled out of the garage my heart broke and I hated him while I cried. So much crying lately! It’s like a lot of life has been happening lately. The tears flow freely.
I will admit I’ve had my moments of feeling like a second class citizen. When Heath and I first met he told me outright that I would come second to BYU football. All these years later I wonder if part of my motivation for loving football was to make his statement untrue. If I loved football we could enjoy it together. And we have. For 13 years I have grown to love football more than I ever thought I would.
It was hard to let Heath want to stay in Seattle for the game so he could watch with his parents. He and his dad bonded over BYU football. Yesterday was the first time I ever felt like I really did come second to football. But how could I deny Heath the joy of watching with his dad?
Ever the problem solver, Heath set up Skype on Gavin’s laptop before he left. We never could get the video to work. I was fine with that. I always feel self conscious Skyping when people can see me. We could hear each other and that was all that mattered. I enjoyed the game with Gavin’s computer in my lap. I didn’t cheer as much because my family was sitting in my lap. Well, I should say I didn’t cheer as loudly. I held back not wanting to scream in anyone’s ears! It was a fun game. I hope to never watch another game like that ever again though.
Parker asked if he could watch TV in my bedroom. He ended up watching some Tinkerbell movie! When Gwen heard me say that to her dad she ran right upstairs to watch with him. I think Parker would have preferred to be alone on my bed with the piles of laundry. He was patient enough to let Gwen be there with him. The kids were really good during the game. I was impressed. And I managed to get them into bed during the commercial break between the third and fourth quarter. Not bad!
I can’t wait to see Heath again! It’s been a long week. Keep those violins tuned. He has another business trip coming up soon. I have no doubt it will be full of drama for this Drama Queen!