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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just Pretending

This vintage flashcard has been perched over top of our front door in our last two homes. I found it at one of my favorite antique stores in La Grange and it is surely one of my favorite things.

The idea that We Are Ready? It usually isn't all that true. We're such posers. Pretending, but also aspiring, to be ready by the time we're gathered en masse (or almost so) near the door. Ready to greet the day and others. Cheerful and prepared. Just like the scouts. I think of the card as an affirmation like athletes tap on the way out of locker rooms before the big game.

My favorite part of school breaks is the relief from the (again, aspirational) military precision of organized belongings. Rucksacks, homework, reading books, permission slips, PE kits, coats, hats, gloves and scarves catalogued, piled, checked and rechecked. I am my family's Radar O'Reilly.

So this company clerk was delighted for a week's break from these piles and our alarm clocks. Then just one day back into our routine and  3/4 of the smalls caught a bad bug that got Biggest Brother on our trip. Sky high fevers, long pajama days on the pull out couch and seemingly endless naps ensued. Less like naps and more that they opened their eyes to cough a bit and were zonked again. For the rest of the week.

I became Hawkeye, Margaret, Father McCulcahy, and a bit of Klinger, too. Getting my troops better. And even if I spent much of the week as sleepless as a new mom, these are the days I'm grateful that I'm not juggling (other) bosses or a work schedule. Baby Sister must have moaned a million times, "I want Maaaamma" (mostly while I was rocking and hugging her and drying hot tears). She got me. I was ready. Completely knackered and in tattered loungewear, but available. Ready. I enlisted for this tour and I'm glad - actually grateful - to be in these trenches. 

Trust me, this shot is of Baby Sister when things were on the upswing. I swear she lost her baby face and belly in those days. She looks about five to me suddenly. Otherwise, proving that misery does indeed love company, Big Brother, Big Sister and Baby Sister displayed great efficiency, if not a bit of pitiful camaraderie, in being down and out together. Iced lollies all 'round!

And I cannot say enough how grateful I am for my girlfriends who showered my house with offers to ferry the well to and from school and activities. My urban experience has taught me that it is significantly harder to get sick kids dressed and on a bus or even in a cab than into the back of a preheated Suburban idling in your driveway. My city girlfriends know this and provided more than a few shuttle services for Big Brother, sparing the rest of us school runs. Just like that Girl Scout song, these friends have quickly become gold.

So it is that we're ready for a new week. To do our Lenten pledges earnestly. To hope for springtime and sunshine. We're ready. 

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