I did all of the laundry so everybody would have clean clothes to pack. I charged the pump so we could blow up the air mattress for somebody to sleep on when we got there. I filled the gas tank in the truck so we could get up this morning at 3 A.M. and just drive. I did a little early Christmas shopping for some bigger items so we could drive them up instead of shipping them. I’m not even gonna start on the preparations that Grandma and Grandpa made in anticipation of our Thanksgiving visit… the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking, the “little” projects around the house.
Turns out they were all for naught, though, because we have kids. And kids come with a cornucopia of wrenches that they will throw into the gears of our lives at any given moment. And because of a sick wrench, the seven of us are all milling around our house in Georgia instead of driving somewhere along I-77 watching (or just listening to, if you sit in the front seat and can’t view the screen) a Disney-Pixar movie right now.
On Monday, Kid A came home from school in tears. She was extremely nauseous and on top of that another girl in her lit class had written an essay about her (a very flattering one, not a mean one) that made her extremely emotional. Since naps are my go-to cure-all, I immediately sent her to bed. She felt a little better after that, but ended up not going to school on Tuesday because she got worse through the night. She had a fever and didn’t have the energy to get off of the couch. She was shaky and dizzy and icky, but I figured whatever it was would run its course and be gone after 24 hours. So I kept on packing.
But by Tuesday at 5 P.M., while standing amidst 6 fully packed duffel bags (Sheepdog, of course, waits until the very last minute to pack. He also feels the need to run every article of clothing past me as he does it, despite my insistence that I DO NOT CARE which damn shirt he wears to drive home), 7 winter coats, 7 sets of hats and gloves, 7 pairs of sneakers, 7 backpacks filled with charged electronics and books, a soccer ball, a football, a few baseball gloves and balls, the travel pillows and blankets, the sleeve of DVDs, the camera bag, the snack bag and the drink cooler, Sheepdog and I made the decision to cancel our trip.
The kids’ reactions were similar… all of them were very sad that they wouldn’t be seeing their Grandma and Grandpa, or their aunt and uncle and cousins. Kid D started to cry inconsolably and he continued through bedtime. Kid E was mad at me. But I saw an ever so slight look of relief pass over Kid A’s face when she realized that she wouldn’t have to fake tough for ten hours riding through the ups and downs of the mountain roads while trying not to even think about throwing up even though she would have the Tupperware vomit bowl within her arms’ reach the whole time. We would also be sitting right next to her the whole time, breathing her sick air and coming into contact with her cooties, pretty much guaranteeing that somebody else would have what she has for the trip home. It was definitely the right call.
The next call I had to make was to my in-laws, who were vibrating with so much excitement in anticipation of our arrival that I could feel it through the phone lines. Ironically, our trip to visit them earlier last summer was canceled on their end, as they were all dealing with some sort of plague that we couldn’t take a chance contracting, especially since Kid A’s boyfriend had just had a bone marrow transplant and was extremely immunocompromised. I was scared that my mother-in-law would be furious or cry or have some sort of extreme reaction that would cause me even more guilt than I was already experiencing, but she was understanding and gracious and so sweet about everything.
So now we are all home. We have the gift of an unexpected day with nothing much on the schedule. Kid A is recuperating and we are all keeping our distance. Kid B went to the movies to see Breaking Dawn Part II (which was AWESOME by the way… best of the series) for the sixteenth time. Kid C and Kid D are running around in shorts outside playing some sort of bucket, snoochie boochie game. Kid E is shadowing Sheepdog while he changes the air filters and applies wood putty to a broken door and generally performs a bunch of Sheepdog chores around the house. I am going to take a much-needed nap. And tomorrow, as long as everybody has been fever-free for at least 24 hours and nobody shows any signs of being sick, we will join two of my sisters and their families, as well as my mom and dad for Thanksgiving dinner down the street.
I sure hope nobody throws a wrench into that plan.
Wish me luck for tomorrow…