By Laurie Kay Olson
© 2011 by Laurie Kay Olson
It is true what they say, that being a mother is the greatest job ever, at least most of the time. All it takes is a case of the flu to turn those little angels into demon spawn. Not their flu, yours. Those happy little shrieks you normally appreciate suddenly pierce your skull like a bolt of lightning. This can also turn you into Cruella DeVille on steroids.
I leaned against the kitchen counter, hoping that it would support me in ways I could not do for myself at the moment. There was a major breakfast skirmish going on behind me and I knew that the cereal was going to fly. If they didn’t knock it off there was a definite possibility that I would be the one to launch the opening salvo. My kingdom for a grenade launcher. Was it getting cold in here?
At the moment I just didn’t care about much of anything. My throat ached only slightly less than my head, the nausea was creeping upward, and everything hurt like I had been sleeping on a bed of rocks. I was on the verge of taking my husband’s name in vain, even though he had managed to get the “herd”| dressed for school. I tried not to look too closely, although I did see that Gina had red stockings on with a pink dress. Oh, well, it wouldn’t hurt her to be a fashion “don’t” for a day.
Coffee, I needed coffee. That would perk me up enough to get the kids off to school and me to call in to work. It took some concentration then. A coffee pot, right, I needed the coffee pot.
“Tommy!” the shriek was a bullet through the skull. I grasped the edge of the counter to steady myself and turned around. Tommy had fished the toy from the box of cereal out of Lisa’s bowl. I quickly retrieved it from them and placed it on injured reserve. It was out of the game for today. No one would get the toy until later. Tommy was the loudest protest, but that was probably because of taking Gina’s spoon to the head. I think I did it without shouting. I think. I’m not sure. If I only had a hangover I would be feeling so much better.
It was feeling colder in here. I wrapped the blue chenille bathrobe tighter and wiggled my toes inside my bear claw slippers. I was dressed in the ghosts of Christmases past. I would not have picked out either of these fashion items for myself. I suppose I brought it on myself when I said that I preferred to go barefoot. Little Lisa would have easily transposed that into “bear-foot” and then insist on these slippers. They made my feet sweat.
I would be happier in men’s pajamas and slipper socks. I was a mommy martyr at times. I especially felt like a martyr right now. Where was Todd anyway? I could really use his help. Of course he was getting ready for work. Soon, so blessedly soon I would have the house to myself and I could collapse for a few hours. Where was I? Oh, right, water. I filled the coffee pot. Now I needed coffee. I opened the cupboard and looked at the selection of coffees therein – too many to choose from. I certainly wasn’t going to grind beans today. I resorted to default mode and grabbed the red can of Folgers.
My fingers curled around the plastic lid. I couldn’t pull hard enough. Normally that was no big deal. Suddenly the can vanished from my hands. I looked up at my freshly laundered husband neat and tidy in a clean Polo shirt and Dockers. He smiled at me encouragingly and popped open the can. He looked down, raised one eyebrow, and then turned the can toward me. There in the fresh grounds was Judy, one of Lisa’s dolls. The dark brown flecks spotted her yellow floral sundress and white high heels. I reached in and pulled her out by her long blond hair. We turned together to look at Lisa.
“Put her back in there!” Lisa ordered imperiously. Her pale brown hair was still floating with static from the application of her sweater. It gave her a misleading fragile appearance.
“Why?” I asked, not sure that I really wanted to know.
“She’s been a bad girl and now she’s in jail,” Lisa claimed.
“You couldn’t let her out for good behavior?” asked Todd.
Lisa shook her head. “She isn’t e-vegetable for patrol until tomorrow.”
For a six-year-old she had some amazing moments of being precocious. “You mean eligible for parole?” I asked.
She nodded. “That’s what I said.”
“Can she at least get some exercise in the yard while I make some coffee?” I asked.
Lisa thought for a moment, one chubby finger put to her lips, and then nodded emphatically. A reprieve had been granted by the judge.
I carefully placed Judy on the lid while I scooped out the coffee. Todd marshaled the kids into their coats and mittens with a maximum of chaos while Lisa watched carefully to make sure that Judy when right back into her cell. Todd was muttering something about reviewing our television watching habits.
As Todd took the kids to school I wondered what Judy’s crime had been. As I poured my cup of coffee I remembered. Of course, the shoes, she was wearing white after Labor Day. I put one hand to my forehead. I was not thinking clearly. Oh, I definitely belonged back in bed.
I picked up Judy and took her with me. I needed someone to talk to.