The boys are home, and the return of clatter and chaos and Riley’s nonstop talk, talk, talking (“Mommy? Mommy? You missed me while I was at gramma and grampa’s? You were SAD cause I was GONE?”) feels like the house got lit up from within like a Christmas tree.

This weekend was rough, maybe the hardest couple of days I can remember as a parent. Dylan’s sickness and fussiness wore me down to a raw nerve, and yesterday when I was hosing out a barfed-on carseat in the sink while he screamed nearby, furious at having been put down for one second, I did some weeping of my own because holy god, this wasn’t just hard, this was insurmountable — I have never felt so incapable and frustrated and utterly unable to recognize the temporary nature of our situation.

The moment passed, of course, as they all do — the good ones and bad ones alike, time treats them all the same and oh, how unfair is that? — and we trudged onward. Literally, even: I ended up wearing Dylan on my back for half the weekend because despite the very real fear of having him puke on my head, it seemed to keep whatever wolves were tormenting him at bay.


Tonight was good. We bought pho noodles and Riley ate his share in giant messy forkfuls, and I sat in the tub with him afterwards and he merrily scrubbed my back with a washcloth, my little spa attendant. Dylan was tired but not too terribly cranky, and Riley spent his evening busily constructing Lego airplanes and building a fort out of sofa cushions.

Both kids are in bed now and I am starting to feel something like a knot unwinding in my chest. The companionable click of JB’s computer is a soothing reminder that the house is full again. Everything feels like it’s supposed to.


33 Responses to “Light, returned”

  1. melanie on November 17th, 2008 9:35 pm

    Even sick he is adorable – but I hear you, I’ve been having a lot of those days lately. I’m glad things are starting to feel a little normal again for you.

  2. Hotch Potchery on November 17th, 2008 9:48 pm

    In a weird, unrelated note…I showed my class a clip from Christmas Story, where the kid gets his secret decoder ring, and in his letter it says, all and sundry, and I thought of you!

  3. Mama Ritchie on November 17th, 2008 9:49 pm

    “The moment passed, of course, as they all do — the good ones and bad ones alike, time treats them all the same and oh, how unfair is that? — and we trudged onward.”

    This is why I love your writing. I have thought this a million different times over the last 4 years, and yet I’ve never been able to put it into words. I’m glad your boys are home!

  4. mrsgryphono on November 17th, 2008 9:58 pm

    Ah, those insurmountable moments. Someone, we get past them, but god they feel like they’re never going to end. I had one tonight. An hour later, she’s asleep and I feel like tomorrow will be a better day.

    Glad your house is full and happy again!! Hope Little D is feeling 100% tomorrow.

  5. Pete on November 17th, 2008 10:13 pm

    Puke on the head, ahh, the memories.

  6. Kristi on November 17th, 2008 10:23 pm

    It is tough to go it alone with a sick kiddo, but you did it. Happy you can finally breathe.

  7. Shana on November 17th, 2008 10:55 pm

    3 words for you: Ergo baby carrier. Life saver. I think babies were meant to be worn.

  8. Jennifer on November 17th, 2008 11:02 pm

    I bet puke on the head would be easier to clean than the carseat!

    Hoping all returns to normal soon. You’re 99% there.

  9. Amy on November 18th, 2008 12:26 am

    Wow, “the moment passed…” Aftering watching your tribute to Riley turning 3 the other day, I have been flipping through some old baby photos and have been feeling the very same thing. How unfair that the good stuff passes just like the bad. You have the ability to touch people’s souls. Thank you for being out there, thank you for sharing! I am typing away and took a break to read your latest post, but I know what you mean. The house is full, the boys, the animals, all snuggled in sleep and the sound of my keyboard keeping me company. But it is nice, isn’t it…just knowing.

  10. Nellig on November 18th, 2008 3:38 am

    Just de-lurking to say that your blog remains one of the best, and your character arc is amazing. Your writing just gets better.

    Also you look so beautiful these days, like a lean sinewy Woman Warrior. And those little boys look the picture of health, and bursting with intelligence. You must be doing something right.

  11. Cara on November 18th, 2008 5:34 am

    Huh, maybe Dylan missed Riley and Dad, too. (On top of the whole being sick and puking thing.) It sounds like everybody’s world is back in place. Here’s to a better week.

  12. AndreAnna on November 18th, 2008 5:46 am

    Hope this week looks better for you!

    I was alone with the kids this weekend (2 and 4 months) while my husband was stuck at work with some major meltdown. Though I’ve done it before and they’re GOOD kids, I couldn’t help but be frayed by the end. Both had colds, the toddler had a cough keeping her from napping, and all I wanted was to take a nap myself.

    I give single parents tons of credit, or even moms whose husbands play satellite roles, because when you have a husband who plays as equal a role in parenting as you do, it is a definite gaping hole when half of your defense team is benched.

  13. Sharon on November 18th, 2008 6:11 am

    Glad things are getting back to “normal”. In hindsight, we recognize how those hard times as a parent are temporary, but when you’re in the midst of the sickness and crying it’s hard to remember that it will pass.

  14. Joanne on November 18th, 2008 6:48 am

    Oh you poor babies, in that picture! I have to remind myself a lot that it will only last a few minutes, whatever it is, even if it feels like days and days. I’m glad the boys are back and I hope Dylan is all better soon! You should take a real spa day.

  15. Eric's Mommy on November 18th, 2008 7:12 am

    Hope Dylan is feeling better, poor little guy.

  16. Shelly on November 18th, 2008 7:13 am

    How funny that my first thought, on seeing the picture with him on your back, was “Ooh, hope he didn’t puke on her head.”

    And I love the line about all the moments passing. Yes, they do. And you can’t hold to a single one. That’s one of the saddest things about life.

  17. Christina on November 18th, 2008 7:21 am

    Ugh I hear you about this… that knot and all the feelings that rear up when you are tired, spent from mothering, parenting a child sick or not. And when everyone returns it feels as you said like house lit from within on Christmas. Amazing how that happens.

  18. bessie.viola on November 18th, 2008 7:21 am

    Such a true statement about all moments being equal… so unfair that the good is so fleeting, you know? You said it perfectly.

    I am loving that you have a little spa attendant… I knew there was a reason that I had a child! Payoff coming quickly!! ;)

  19. samantha jo campen on November 18th, 2008 7:56 am

    It is amazing isn’t it when the house is full as it should be? Just makes a world of difference.

    And he looks like the saddest sickest baby ever. Normally he’s so jolly so you can totally tell he’s not himself. Poor little bunny.

  20. sara moon on November 18th, 2008 8:04 am

    Totally unrelated to your beautiful, and all too relatable post,
    LINDA: what is that photo on your Noblopomo badge of you and the boys??? Did you get that done professionally? Being a family photographer myself, it looks awesome! Did someone come to your house and take pics? Can we see more??? You look beautiful in it ;-)

  21. dorrie on November 18th, 2008 9:16 am

    Oh girl you look TIRED in that pic. Glad your chickens are all home to roost now.

    And your noblopomo badge is HILARIOUS

  22. nonsoccermom on November 18th, 2008 9:44 am

    Oh, so true. I had one of those days (WEEKS) last week, and I just cried and cried because it all seemed so impossible. glad things are going better now.

  23. alfredsmom on November 18th, 2008 11:45 am

    please please please tell me more about that backpack baby carrier!

  24. Gleemonex on November 18th, 2008 12:02 pm

    GodDAMN, woman — what do you do to get your ARMS to look like that? You are CUT! I want it for myself!

    [not too shallow … ]

  25. deannagabriel on November 18th, 2008 12:27 pm

    dylan looks like he just doesnt feel well in that picutre. :-( poor guy. i hope the bug is on the downswing.

    glad to hear that everyone is back in the house safe and sound and all is right with the world. heres hoping this week is fill with more laugh and love and less baby puke…

  26. sdg on November 18th, 2008 1:03 pm

    I have jest grokked in fullness that very novel. For about the 100th time actually. Its one of my all-time fav’s. :)

  27. Penny on November 18th, 2008 1:44 pm

    WOW, look at those rockin’ biceps! Crap! That picture almost makes me want to join a gym again and lift weights.


  28. annabelle on November 18th, 2008 1:52 pm

    ditto alfredsmom… what kind of baby backpack is that? I’m in the market.

  29. Maria on November 18th, 2008 2:23 pm

    I can relate a little all too well to your mini car seat cleaning breakdown. I had one myself while rocking my sick baby on Sunday night who just wouldn’t sleep for more than 30 minutes straight (taking 30 to 45 minutes to go back down in between) all night long. I too reached a point of exhuastion and tears in what felt like a never ending sleep deprived tiny little hell of my own. We’ve all been there…thank goodness those are the kinds of things that do eventually pass. We might still be tired, but they pass.

  30. April on November 18th, 2008 3:33 pm

    Dylan looks sooooo cute in such a sad/sick way in that pic. Poor little guy. And here’s to hoping you didn’t actually get that barf on your head.

  31. Beth on November 18th, 2008 3:48 pm

    Just reading this sentence was like a parenting light bulb going off for me…”I have never felt so incapable and frustrated and utterly unable to recognize the temporary nature of our situation.” This is my BIGGEST fault as a mother…I never realise that it is just temporary and it will pass – it get overwhelmed by it. So even though this sucked for you – thanks SO much for this insight. I will always keep it in mind…

  32. Megan on November 19th, 2008 9:47 am

    Your post instantly made me remember this Family Guy clip. Got to love those talkers!

  33. mel from australia on November 19th, 2008 5:20 pm

    a hive! a hive of sofa cushions:D

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