After an entire weekend spent outside, basking in perfect Florida days, I found myself completely overtaken by the blood-sucking, life-stealing, headache-inducing pollen that is EVERYWHERE in this God-forsaken state. I have not had an allergy attack in about 3 years and I forgot how much I hate all that is pollenating life.
I took an allergy pill before bed last night because they knock me out and make me so woozy that I’d likely put the iron in the fridge and my tennis shoes on the same shelf as the good china. (Just kidding. I don’t have good china.) I figured if I could sleep through the worst of the allergy pill side effects then I could go on the have a perfectly lovely Memorial Day.
The first hour of Memorial Day was great, until about 1:15am. My son began to cry and moan and then cry some more. “What’s wrong with him?” I asked my husband who was staring at the video monitor in his sleep.
“I don’t know,” he mumbled.
“I’ll bet it’s his bottom left molar. I thought I saw it swollen yesterday.” This is a mom thing. A father would never flip the switch in his brain to “on” that allowed him to notice things like a bottom left molar being swollen. A father would assume the child need something to eat and feed him meatloaf in the middle of the night. “I’ll go get him some motrin,” I said.
“No, it’s okay. I’ll go,” my husband responded. For a minute, I let him begin to lift himself out of the bed until I played out the entire scene, recognizing that it would soon result in him walking back into the bedroom 28 seconds after I’d returned to sleep to ask where the motrin is and how we give it to him and where we keep the water.
“No. I’ll go.” I stood up and bolted to the door so he couldn’t argue with me. As I did, I heard my son shout, “I need some waaaaateeeeer.” Seconds later, my husband followed me into the kitchen and started looking for Abe’s sippy cup in the microwave. “Dave. I heard him. I’ll get it.” He wandered away back to bed.
In the dark, I poured a teaspoon of motrin in a little plastic measuring cup and then sucked it up into a syringe while filling a sippy cup with water, spilling neither. By the time I made it upstairs, Abe was moaning, “I waaaanna feel beeeeeetteeeeeer, Moooommmmmyyy.” It was the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I gave him some motrin and water right in his crib and told him he would feel better soon. Thankfully, he did.
This morning, major allergy pill hangover. The day before involving swimming and a lot of grilled steak, Abe slept in until almost 9:30 and so did I. But I still made my way through the day in a total haze, asking the same questions over and over again like, “Did you mow the lawn?” 15 minutes after I stood outside watching my husband do it. I asked my mom to email me her grocery list, which makes zero sense. I cleaned out the entire garage and I don’t remember doing it, but it looks great. All the while, I fed and cared for my 2-year-old, who whined and cried and pitched fits because his little mouth hurt so much that he couldn’t express anything but discomfort. Had we a giant ball pit in the living room, the two of us would have rolled around, moaning and complaining for the entire day, occasional pitching balls out of the pit at passersby.
And then tonight, when Abe wanted to blow bubbles outside at dusk when children aren’t allowed outside in Florida (because of the mosquitoes), I expected the mother of all meltdowns. I waited for it to hit and I accepted that I would spend the next 10-15 minutes empathizing with my traumatized son after I told him no. But the meltdown never came. Instead, he looked at me and said, “Mommy? What if daddy got the blower and blew all the ‘squitoes away?”
So first I melted into a small pile of mom, more in love with my son than ever in this beautiful moment of 2-year-old problem solving. Then I explained to him that I didn’t think that would stop the mosquitoes from biting us, which is when he said this: “How about Daddy gets the lawnmower and mows the mosquitoes so that Abe can go outside?!” This idea seemed better than the first one…to Abe. I explain that the mosquitoes can fly and would probably fly away from the lawn mower.
“Can you fly, Abe?” my husband asked.
“No, Daddy! I cannot fly.”
“Will you be able to fly someday?” he asked.
“Yes. Someday, Daddy.”
So I guess my point is this: Even after the most difficult and trying times with Abe, I see this little spirit in him that makes what I’m doing the most rewarding experience, the most incredibly satisfying feat I’ve ever attempted. His ideas, his laughter, his moments of pure brilliance fill my soul to the brim and make me think I might just overflow, spilling happy soul all over the hardwood floors. In an allergy pill-haze while competing with lower right molars for the perfect Memorial day, I realized I am the most grateful I have ever been.
And I just sneezed. Effing oak trees.