“Worst Kid Day Ever”

Some days are just not your day.

We started with the usual remote learning chaos. “Mom, this program keeps kicking me off the live session with the teacher.” “Mom, this app doesn’t work that I’m supposed to do a quiz on.” “Mom, I can’t open this file.” “Mom…..mom…..mom…..

And that was the first hour, before the middle guy said, “I feel like I’m going to throw up” and rapidly barfed all over the couch before I could blink and run for a garbage can. In my very “supportive” (NOT) Mommy way, I suggested sternly that he could have run to a sink, bathroom, kitchen….anything!!  “Oh, I’m sorry you’re feeling bad, honey,” I apologized profusely several times as I google how to get vomit out of a couch (no, I don’t have club soda; yes, I’ve used up all the baking soda on the couch now so I won’t be baking for you for awhile!!)

Back upstairs to try to get a work project done amid multiple interruptions when I hear, “Mom, Moka got a rat.”  It was not a rat. It will be a long time before the image of the escaped hamster (and stains on the carpet) leave my brain.  After hugging a sobbing pet-owner and sending him off to the living room, I scooped up the poor animal and tossed it. A few minutes later, I had to secretly retrieve poor “Scarlett” and wrap her in pink tissue paper and put her in a “nice” box to bury in the hole that said puppy loves to dig in the front yard. We held a short funeral service where I cried as I prayed for the hamster in Heaven.

Back upstairs to work, just to be called down again for some school issue, but also the need to run to the local grocery store to buy flowers for the burial site. It was a bit for the 11-year-old to explain without many words the purpose of the flowers to the inquisitive cashier. But we stuck them in the ground (where they kept falling over and we decided they looked better that way anyway).

Back upstairs to keep working on that presentation while fielding multiple tech issues and issuing multiple reminders of what time it was and what “class” the boys should be logging in to next. Finally, went to the school to pick up my nephew and drop him and The Little Guy off at my sister’s so I could have a nice evening out with a friend. Mumblings at the school pick-up zone informed me of an email about a COVID case at the elementary school. Trying to show this email to my sister a little later as I dropped off the boys brought to my attention a general email from the middle school….followed by a direct email “To the Family of Mr. Ornery” – your student may have been exposed to a student with coronavirus and should quarantine and stay home from school for 14 days.

At this point, I’m now in a calm panic mode. This is the kid who vomited this morning (a minor COVID sign). This is the kid who had a headache and mild sore throat 3 days ago (minor symptoms). So, this is the kid who now was dragged into the local urgent care for COVID testing because his mom just had to have an answer (particularly because of possible exposures to other kids in the neighborhood).

The rapid test after miserable nasal swabs was negative. The PCR test after a really miserable nasopharyngeal swab “that tickles your brain” will come back tomorrow or the next day. The poor, brave young man survived all this. Two hours later, as he sucks on the straw of a cookie crumble frappuchino from Starbucks (nice Mommy), Mr. Ornery reflects, “This has been my worst ever kid day, hasn’t it?” Yes, buddy, it sure has.

But you’ve still had moments of smiles in between tears.

You’ve had moments of fun in between frustration.

You’ve had moments of joy in between discomfort.

You’re going to have some hard days and some days will be harder than today.

But you have a sweet, tender heart to sustain you.

You have amazing friends to encourage you.

And you have a mom who will cry right along with you (especially when you need a moment to lay beside the grave and say good bye to your little dwarf hamster friend before bed…and I watch you through the closed door weeping within).

I’m here right with you, buddy.



I sort of missed a posting last week. I did have good intentions, but exhaustion hit Sunday evening after staying up most of Friday night (and sleeping on a thin mat) in preparation for a yard sale Saturday morning. Then the fuzzy throat hit Monday morning and by Tuesday afternoon, I declared myself sick with strep (symptoms + nephew and neighbor positive for strep) and called in some antibiotics. (Sometimes that degree is really helpful since the leftover amoxicillin that I found in the cupboard was dated 2013. Probably too old, I surmised.)

Let me tell you, sick and single parenting is no fun. Just that. No fun. It’s even 50 times less fun when it’s pouring down rain, you are without an umbrella but with two kids in tow and running in and out of the doctor’s office and the pharmacy because the elder child has a sinus infection at the same time.

Somehow, my boys don’t seem to be old enough (or wise enough) yet to know that when Mommy is sick, thou shalt keep the noise level below 115 db, sit nicely and do your homework, and take yourselves upstairs to bed (and NOT require said ill person to sit and read Harry Potter Book 3 to you for just one night. Say “Please, just a few more pages,” as many times as you want, it’s just not going to happen).

It’s such an amazing feeling when your brain starts functioning again and you realize you haven’t actually been “all there” for three days.  And I realize in these moments that this single parenting is really a very fine line. Everything fits into the puzzle just right at this time. It’s working to juggle gymnastics, baseball and ice hockey. My job is flexible enough to cover random days off school. I’m keeping up with the house and the bills. But it’s all very fragile. Life is very fragile. Throw in a fever and you’ve got a kid home from school or a mommy home from work. Routines alter. Emotions jumble. It’s all unsettling for a day or two. The return to calm reminds me to be grateful that these “hiccups” are minor and that I have a wonderfully supportive network.

I was so touched when a woman I’ve met a couple times at churchdinner emailed last week and asked “although it’s a bit late and the month sure has been crazy, could I drop off a meal to welcome you all to your new home”? Tempted to reply, “oh no, really…we’re fine,” I instead responded with the truth – “that would be such a wonderful gift.” She brought over the most delightful steak taco meal complete with all the fixings including homemade guacamole, and the “last of the summer’s corn” from a local farm, a huge fruit salad and, of course, homemade macaroni and cheese for the “picky” eaters and DESSERT!! I just stared at the spread on the table as I unpacked the huge box ….grateful.

new home

Life is fragile. Be grateful. Touch others. Savor the moments.