Boarderline sick. That's what I call it when the boundary line between kids staying home from school and going are blurred with a virus. Certainly, they have a cold but also quite certain, they could ping pong off these wall all day with only a fraction of their energy level.
Boarderline sick. That's how I would describe my boys on this particular morning. I was waffling between sending them to school and keeping them home. I agonize over this decision. I wish it wasn't mine to make or there was some clear marker tipping me that I can hang my choice on, like a fever. Not today.
I decide to just slow the day way down as I evaluate and reevaluate. One son misses the early morning club he goes to before school a couple days of the week. I instruct him to go curl up on the couch for a while. Let some rest and Tylenol quiet the barking of his symptoms. Looks like we are staying in today. He falls back to sleep.
Upstairs I am throwing on something stretchy. I have cleared my morning of the commitments that I have, and now my clothing reflects that. I don't arrive at that decision easily, the letting people down. I start to think of other moms who work by choice or not, sick kids or not. Would they make the same decision I am? Those aren't my conditions, I remind myself. I project myself into the future, a future in which I may have a work commitment. I scrutinize my decision under that light. Those aren't my current conditions. If they were, Ryan's schedule would factor in. We'd work it out together.
My mind quips back, "What if you were a single mom?"
I scoff at my ability to head toward worst case. But I am not single and have no plans to be. So I make the calls, and watch that commitment go under. I feel bad about it. I feel like the worst. Today, I make decisions based on the circumstances I stand in today. Slower still.
While am upstairs sliding into spandex and clearing my morning, I hear a crash and cry from down below. The boy in the middle is screaming and wailing. He says he's the worst boy ever.
The contents of his hard plastic lunch container are spread out and being lapped up by our Rio dog, all but the carrots. No one eats the carrots. The hinges of the hard plastic lunch container didn't survive the fall and are rendered irreparable.
I scoop the worst boy ever into my lap and start speaking truth to the negative thoughts he is having toward himself. It's ok, I tell him. It's ok, I tell me. You aren't the worst I tell him, tell me.
I look down to see that there is a huge hole in the crotch of his pants. A hole he would have carried to school if not for this impromptu snuggle sesh. Even slower.
He changes his clothes. He rests. A couple hours later everyone is awake and well and bouncing. Some clouds come with downpours and angry winds but only last a little while.
I walk the kids to school late as ever.
"Why?," the office asks.
"Slow, start," I say.