Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February lessons

I'm sick.

It was really only a matter of time since I have been subbing almost daily the past few weeks. That much subbing only means one thing, sick teachers. Sick teachers means sick kids. Sick kids means the classrooms are all thriving petri dishes teeming with all manner of bacteria and viruses. It's like an episode of Magic School Bus where all of the teachers and students become germs and have to do battle against bottles of hand sanitizer (Spoiler alert: The germs win).

Sidenote: How great was Magic School Bus? How awesome was Ms. Frizzle? How unrealistic was it that she had a class of eight kids? Do you know how awesome I would be if I had a class of eight kids? I could surely take my class on some magical adventures full of education and fun, too, with EIGHT kids. 

I digress.

Did I mention I am sick? I feel like I should clarify that again in case this little missive of mine wanders even more than usual. I am quite possibly feverish and hallucinating.

Subbing and the Bacteria Festival I've been cavorting in aside, I'm not surprised February has decided to kick me in the teeth. It's possible I might have ended up here anyway, even without the burning sore throat and aching head. I have a lot to gear up for this month and it's enough to make me tired by 8am even on my best day.

February is always a big month in our little household. Exactly 3 out of 5 birthdays in our family occur this month. Three birthdays in the shortest month of the year, and one of them is mine. That makes February a non-stop party on any given year but this year the birthdays are feeling particularly big. This year we are rolling in some new numbers that I am having a hard time getting my head around.

I almost can't even say it.

Actually, I can't say it.

Let's just say I have one leaving single digits (let me pause to mop off the keyboard from the waterfall of tears), one leaving his teens (I'm glad you can't hear the wailing and gnashing of teeth), and then there's me...officially hitting the middle of my 40's which means after this it's all just one big, not-so-long countdown to 50.

I cannot even.

Obviously my resolve to get out of yoga pants is going to hit some really big snags this month. I'm sure you understand.

These February babies...killin' me.

You get it, right? I mean, you'll understand when I spontaneously start weeping in the produce aisle, right? Please just look away. It's best for both of us.

But in spite of the fact that I'm inclined to be annoyed at February for kicking me when I'm down with this little illness that mimics the Bubonic Plague; I actually think February was trying to teach me something.

Because when our kids get older and we get all sentimental, we start to have memory lapses of what the "little years" were really like. 

Don't get me wrong. I loved the little years. I love little ones, period. That's why I say "yes" every time I'm asked to sub in Kindergarten even though I know I will come home limping and exhausted and won't be able to speak full sentences to my own family, let alone cook them dinner. I just love those little guys. 

But when you reach this point in parenting it is so tempting to look back on those years with nostalgia and start saying grandmotherly things like, "Enjoy it dearie" to poor, sleep-deprived mothers who are trying to run their debit card as fast as possible in the checkout aisle while their toddler is grabbing at candy bars and packs of gum and their newborn is wailing for all she's worth in the Baby Bjorn and you just know that poor mama's milk just letdown as the beads of sweat start pouring down her face in the direction of her clenched teeth.

The little years are not easy. 

And they are especially not easy when Mama is sick. Remember Moms of Older Kids? Remember what it was like to be sick as a dog and still have to nurse a baby or entertain a toddler or cut up grapes or make mac n cheese while praying that he will keep watching Nick Jr. all. day. long? 

Oh, do I remember. 

And I thought of that this morning as my two who are still at home got themselves up, dressed, fed and out the door with almost zero input from me. I thought to myself what a marvel that would be to a young mother; the idea that her children would one day be capable of making their own breakfast, dressing themselves, packing up and getting out the door on time all while she STAYED IN BED.

Being sick is not fun regardless. But it is a heck of a lot more manageable when you only have to take care of yourself. You can take that to the bank and cross-stitch it on a pillow, I'd say.

So, thank you, February. Thank you for reminding me of the many wonderful things that come from having your kids grow up. Truly, the many, many wonderful things. I am going to keep this little lesson close to my heart as we hit each of these milestone birthdays. I will sing their ages loud and proud and, I promise, I will celebrate with a smile.

So....can we nix the whole flu bug thing now? 

Lesson learned. 


Alrighty then...naptime. 

And I'll be taking this one all by myself. Hallelujah.

P.S. Big, mighty prayers for any moms of little ones who are sick right now. May God send Mary Poppins down from the sky to tend to the children, Alice to cook dinner, and Rosario (Will and Grace) to hang out and watch TV with you. My heart is with you.

P.P.S. This is still killin' me...