I’m going to wrap presents today. I’m also going to haul out a brick of cookie dough that’s been taking up space in the freezer since thanksgiving and make delicate confections of wondrous delight. I’m going to find the rest of the playmobile holy family so that the Baby Jesus will no longer be set upon by the three wise pirates. From this day on I am going to be a Christmas beast.
I will do this with confidence (if not any actual skill) because I have recently emerged from the dark side a wretched bout of seventy-two-hour-but-let’s-give-it-another-day-since-I-am-still-a-feverishly-damp-sight-to-see-and-no-one-will-want-me-to-volunteer-at-the-holiday-book-fair-looking-like-this-anyways-flu.
For me, the flu has always been a tidy kind of illness. I never feel the symptoms until I’m suddenly tackled with the three headed hydra of aching body, fever and nausea. It comes as an almost blessed kind of epiphany. One minute you’re in the parking lot of your local big box toy store emporium with a sense of jingle bell purpose in the air, and the next you are realizing the crusty juice box by your foot is emitting by far the most foul stench imaginable and that you need to get rid of that and the contents of your breakfast in short order.
I found my way home after that unfortunate incident by a combination of luck and I-shouldn’t –be-operating-machinery adrenaline. I then looked at the to do list of holiday what-have-you that I had smugly made the night before. Shopping? My burgeoning headache told me that I’d be lucky if I could even point and click online. Decorate? I looked at the storage boxes holding all things seasonal. Maybe the Darling children would like to do it if I unplugged the router and cable box. Making and freezing soup for next week’s potluck? Ha.
I waited for the Darling children to arrive from school. Once all assembled, I made the solemn announcement that their mother was sick. Not under the weather, not cranky, not (ye gods) going to have a baby…I was yucky flu sick and was now going to collapse into bed. Daddy would be home soon to fulfill all their pizza desires.
What followed that night and into the next was a full on series of fever hallucinations the likes that I know could never be replicated by mere pharmaceuticals. I wore a green elf costume and was trying to make homemade Hallmark ornaments for everyone I knew. I was doing this in an effort to quell the wrath of the crazy Target lady who had taken residence in the corner of my un-sorted sock basket. I tried to tell her if she would just be cool and revert back to Maria Bamford, I could make the damn things, but she was having none of it and soon brought her posse of Real Housewives to boss me around. (I tend to keep the TV on when I’m sick- can you tell?)
Every so often a Darling child would tiptoe in my room and ask if I was going to die and, if not, was I going to be able to bring the gingerbread snack for tomorrow and would I have time to hem the rest of the choir gown because the performance was in four days and did I ever get the gold glitter and not the glitter glue because those were two totally different things and did we have any milk because it’s cold enough for hot chocolate and…I ran back to the waiting arms of the Real target Housewives and promised to do better.
And I did. I was so blissed out happy once I could stand up out of bed without swaying or retching, that I knew I was really going to enjoy the holly jolliness of what was left of the next few weeks. I’ve kept the bar so very low during my mommy career, holiday –wise (everything left to last minute, cookies are forgotten, hoards for friends insulted that they never get cards) that I have nowhere to go but up. Even if the next few days allow me to only rise to the mediocre, it will be done sans sickness, and that will make it a very happy holiday for me.
Oh! Just in case anyone was still wondering: my flu, and all of the whining that came with it, was indeed one of those ever so popular ‘first world’ problems that everyone keeps talking about. I had friend and family to pick up slack if needed. Had I been seriously ill, I could have dug out my insurance card and crawled over to my doctor. If the Happy Holiday Hooker drive has taught me anything, it is that all too many families can be thrown into chaos if something as little as flu mucks up the plans for work, childcare, and anything else under the sun. I was blessed with help and support. Now that I am properly seasoned for the holidays, I plan to spread the blessings around. The crazy Target lady of my fever dreams will be proud of me.(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011