At 1:30 pm, I was working quickly to put my wrecked kitchen back in order while the muffins were baking in the oven. The children were starving since lunch got pushed back later than usual.
We did not get school done today. We did not make it to piano lessons. We did not get books returned to the library, nor did I get groceries. Thursdays are town day, pretty much the only day a week I leave the house, which makes for a stressful day for me. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? — Getting stressed out with errands.
You see, I have this idea in my head that my Thursdays should be a normal, though shortened school day. And since I don’t want to interrupt our other days with trips into town, I try to pack in all errands on Thursday. It just makes sense to save the gas and make more efficient use of my time. So we go to piano; the post office; library; Goodwill (if necessary); Aldi for butter, eggs and milk; Odum’s Salvage for barely-out-of-date produce; and Ingles grocery store. Then I rush home to get groceries put away and get supper on the table.
But this Thursday . . . . .this Thursday was different. My Prairie woke up unusually grumbly and whiny. I sternly sent her off to do morning chores while I headed downstairs to start breakfast. I had just poured a dozen eggs into my cast iron pan when I heard a loud thump and wail. Rushing upstairs, I found Prairie crying and saying that she had hit her head.
I tend to under-react to my children’s injuries, so after making sure there was no blood or broken bones, I gave her a hug and brought her downstairs, unworried.
But as she sat at the breakfast table, it became clear that Prairie was feeling worse and worse. She seemed drowsy. I felt her head for a lump and found a small one on the side of her skull, three inches above her right ear. She complained that she was cold.
I immediately declared a no school day so I could keep a close eye on her. After a few chores, we watched a movie. I cuddled with Prairie under a blanket, studying her pupils for uneven dilation. I kept shifting her when it seemed she was getting too comfortable and about to drift off to sleep.
A half hour later, she threw up.
A head injury, not feeling well, drowsiness, vomiting —- now I was worried.
So I prayed. I prayed for protection and healing for my little girl. I thought about the irritation I had to stifle yesterday afternoon, when I was trying to create a new sewing pattern and Prairie sent a continual stream of jibberish into my consciousness —-“Look Mama. Look at kitten. Kitten is asleep. Look Mama. Now, Kitten is flying. Mama, can I play in your buttons? . . . Mama . . . . Mama . . . .Mama . . .”
I felt how foolish I have been for getting so caught up in “Shoulds Dos” and schedules that I had forgotten to enjoy my little Delight. I prayed for forgivness because I had been ungrateful, even if momentarily, for this Gift.
And I cuddled with her on the couch and felt the comfort of her tiny form curled into my lap, her head against my chest, thumb in her mouth and the back of her hand grazing my shirt —Prairie’s unique self-comforting habit.
A few hours later, my girl ate a few bites of bread and seemed to feel better. She showed interest in play. She smiled again. Eventually, she even began to run — from the living room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to the bathroom, from the bathroom to the table. In my relief, I was sweeter with my admonition to not run in the house.
“Look Mama” — my little monkey had climbed the stepstool and balanced her weight with her hands on the island countertop. I placed my hands on her little waist, gently pulling her down, grateful for the weight of her and her monkey business.
And every time she said “Look Mama,” I did. With joy.