Trudging through with love

I finally walk among the living today. It has been three weeks of coughing, fevers, headaches, stomachaches, nausea, fatigue, and grouchiness and I am so ready for my world to revert back to healthy bodies and laughter and positive spirits!
First, Mario got sick before Thanksgiving. If I don’t get the sickness he carries, I still get run down because I end up staying up with him half the night. Even if he’s not calling out for me, I lay awake because I can’t stand to hear him coughing. It was that hoarse, gagging cough he had and it sent chills up my spine to hear him. I’d go into his room and make him blow his nose and give him water and then rub his back to settle him down. I’d reach a time when he wasn’t hacking and think “yes, he’s asleep and well.” Then I’d climb back into bed and within 30 seconds he’d start hacking again. I’d toss and turn as Jon snored away beside me. How can he sleep so soundly?! I’d sit in bed both worried about Mario and pissed at Jon for being able to sleep (to give Jon credit, as soon as I nudged him and told him to get Mario water, he would). The mother gene kicks in full throttle when our babies are sick. I can’t rest peacefully unless they are. And when I don’t get 7 hours of sleep, I go downhill. And so I did. The day after Thanksgiving, I began to feel crappy. And just when I began to feel a bit better, Rocco got sick. He had the same hoarse cough as Mario but with one difference. He had gotten into the bag of turkey bones. So, at 2 am when he was wrenching in his crate, and Jon was snoring away, I awoke. Those mama genes in high alert even for my non-human baby. Poor pup had thrown up everywhere and continuously gagged. I found no turkey bones in his puke (what a life) so became increasingly concerned that one was stuck in his throat. Jon came down and we agreed I should take him to the ER (I’m better at hospitals is Jon’s reasoning for not going). So at 3:15 am, me and my pup drove to OSU Vet Hospital. At least it wasn’t too busy. Lots of dollars later, they diagnosed him with kennel cough and pneumonia and told me I could keep him at the hospital for a boat load of money or take him home and watch over him all day. By this time (7:30 am), I was exhausted, sick, and distressed. I decided if stay home to rest and watch over Rocco. But Monday was the day that all hell broke out at work and I was on phone calls all morning and afternoon. As I left to go to Ri’s geography bee, Rocco threw up blood. Are you kidding?!
So, I ran to her bee, watched her kill it, and then ran home to take Rocco back to OSU. Another chunk of cash later, they confirmed no turkey bone. Still just the kennel cough and pneumonia. The blood must have been from all the coughing. I got a handful of different meds and headed home at 8:30 pm. Jon could see how tired I was and told me to go to bed with the kids. He stayed downstairs with Rocco. I fell asleep before the kids and slept until 4:30 am when Rocco came upstairs to heave beside my pillow. At least I got 7 hours of sleep. It’s all I needed to feel somewhat revived and at least be able to make it through most of the day before wanting to crash.
But then Ri got sick. She was at a concert at Mershon Auditorium when I got the text from a mom friend. She reported she was hot and pale and miserable. Ugh.
Jon was in a meeting so didn’t answer my call. I had a meeting at 1 that I couldn’t miss and it was 11:30. I called the doctor and got her in at 12:15. Tried Jon again.
I scooped up my coat and keys and drove to Mershon. My girlfriend brought her outside and she laid in the back moaning about her head.
Jon called.
He would meet me at the doctor so I could get back for my 1 pm meeting. This constant juggling and meeting and exchanging and dropping off is the sign of a true partnership and of true love. Jon and I may not see rainbows and stars every time we look into each others’ eyes but we do see deep devotion and love. We see perseverance and dedication and mutual struggle and joy. I watched him and Ri talking as I left the doctor’s office and felt such affection for him. I also wanted to pass out from exhaustion.
Ri was sick all weekend and therefore, Jon and I and the kids just chilled around the house all day Saturday and Sunday playing board games and watching football. It was wonderful and much needed for the body and mind.
Here’s to this upcoming holiday season being free of bacteria and viruses and full of the warmth and love that, thankfully, so beautifully fills our home and keeps us among the living – even when we are completely exhausted.


Purposeful girlfriend

I called my girlfriend tonight as I walked out of work.  I usually never get a hold of her – we keep up with each other by leaving long-winded messages on voicemail.  Buy tonight she answered.  And we laughed. I needed that.

K is my soul-mate girlfriend.  We have known each other since first grade.  We are both highly opinionated and strong-willed.  We both believe in ourselves and stand up for our principles. We both are attorneys who have experienced all of the stress and politics of law firms.  We both believe in supporting organizations that care for the underprivileged.  We both hate the suburbs.  The only difference I can think of is the one we had a while back over who should be the 2008 candidate for President (she was for Hillary and I was for Obama; I should have listened to Kath).

K became a mama a little over a year ago when she adopted her precious baby girl. Now, in addition to talking about the woes of practicing law or the aches and pains of turning 40, we talk about raising kids.  Tonight, we discussed our never-ending search for our purpose in life.  K found herself running to the mall to buy something and then walking around for an hour looking at books promising to provide the meaning of life.  I told her I searched the internet last night for an hour googling “meaning of life” and “life’s purpose.”  Searching, searching, searching.  I don’t think it’s a bad activity but I also think that I could probably realize just as much if I allowed myself to take time to meditate and have some quiet time.  Then again, I would probably be like Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love when she goes to the meditation school, sits down to meditate, and can only think about the twenty things she has to do and how she is being bad because she is not “meditating.”

M&M experiencing the joys of sliding!

We got on the conversation of kids.  Aren’t we supposed to feel happy and fulfilled because we have kids?  We are raising these helpless little creatures and showing them an exciting world where they can experience adventure and wonder.  What more can we ask for in life?  Obviously, lots.  Our conversation took me back to an article in 2008 in the Daily Beast.  The article reported studies that found that parents are less happy than non-parents.  More stressed, more depressed. Makes you want to take some birth control ASAP, heh?!  The article opines that maybe it’s because we are having kids at a later age and we look back to our 20s and even 30s and think “I loved having that martini with my girlfriends after work” or “How great was it to wake up on Saturday morning at 10 am, go for a run, and spend the day watching old movies.” None of those activities will see the light of day when babes arrive in the house.  Hell, I’m lucky to be ten minutes into a movie without some form of interruption whether it’s a kid crying or a toddler peeing the bed.

But the article did end with an interesting tidbit.   Although parents reported being less happy, they did find greater purpose in life when having children.  K and I agree that having our babes does push the purpose bar of our life up quite a bit.  There is no doubt that raising kids and experiencing the joys and depth of emotion that kids bring to you is purposeful. But it is not our only purpose.  And there we stand.  Still trying to search for that additional purpose for why we are here.  What more we can do in the second half of our lives to feel that we made the most out of this one, precious life?  It drives us nuts on many a day – we call one another and question “why can’t we just be content in our jobs and with our babies and our husbands and our homes?”  Don’t we “have it all?”  Obviously not.  In the end, as much as we joke that we wish we could just be unaware and unquestioning. I think it is yet another strength that we both carry.  Our ability to always search for more, to always push ourselves to grow, to always ask questions.  To have a girlfriend that I know is questioning right along side of me even if she is 100 miles away, provides a comfort to me that cannot be provided by any other soul.