Hawaii was great. We hung out under a waterfall, swam with those sweet sea turtles, and my daughter, so enamored with surfing, got to tackle some real waves.
My son, an avid fisherman, also got to try deep-sea fishing with his dad for the first time (a huge shout-out to Kristie and Captain Mike at Maggie Joe Sport Fishing in Honolulu for hooking them up!).
We squeezed in a luau and the kids jumped off an enormous rock on the north shore of Oahu into the sea a few times, but we did very little lounging on beach chairs. Factor in the crazy bumped-from-our-flight debacle on the trip out there – which resulted in arriving at our hotel 13 hours late around 3 o’clock the next morning – and the red-eye-with-three-crying-babies flight back to central-standard time (jet lag city) six days later, and I was exhausted from our vacation.
I needed a vacation from my vacation. Ha.
Instead, I returned home to find that our dear, big red doggie had the blues. In spite of capable pet-sitting, he’d pretty much chewed a hole in his butt. Really. (No worries, while we were gone poor Jake got some veterinary TLC from Dr. Doolittle himself, Dr. Bongiorno, and is good as gold, now.) By the next morning, Holly and Todd were singing the blues, too. Tummy bug. You know the drill. And that made my plan to hit the road with the kids to visit my mom in New York a total no-go.
Two days later I realized that the upstairs potty had been leaking, needed a new wax ring and had to be “reset.” Resulting, of course, in the need to repaint my kitchen ceiling. Again. Calgon, take me away!
Instead of painting, on Sunday I learned that one of my dearest friends, who’d been battling a serious illness for some time now, had been admitted to the hospital in rough shape.
The next morning, my husband woke early in excruciating pain, and landed, for an overnight, on the same floor at Delnor as my friend (which made visiting them both, between their respective naps and procedures, convenient, at least!). After Todd was admitted, and while we waited for his surgeon to make an appearance, I passed the time checking my messages.
I should have read my book.
Instead, I learned that several of my neighbors were feeling antsy that some poor, apparently alcoholic soul, who may or may not have a history of assault, who may or may not be bunking at a house two blocks from mine, and who may or may not have very recently assaulted a woman on the bike path, was, apparently, presently “on foot.”
He, or someone who looks a whole lot like him, that is.
Before I read through the entire string of comments and learned that authorities had confirmed that this guy (or, you know, someone who looks a whole lot like him) had already been picked up on some other charge and jailed (with, apparently, little hope of making bail), adrenaline had made merry in my veins and I made doubly sure that my kids were safely with our friends.
By Wednesday morning I was seriously depleted. I needed a massage. A nap. Yoga. Yeah, yoga’s just the thing, I decided, and Rachel, my wonderful instructor at River West Family Fitness, had a class at 10:15. I couldn’t wait. I hadn’t been in weeks. Noah was at his high school soccer tryouts, Todd was resting on the coach – and the doggie was chilling – so I donned my yoga clothes and checked the clock. Perfect. Just enough time to get Holly to the middle school so she could load her school supplies into her locker (which she’d missed doing with the other seventh-graders when she was sick the week before). But dear Holly, who’d been sitting patiently on the back burner for a few days, had other plans. She needed to decorate her locker, too, so that’s what we did. It looks so cool! Maybe I’ll get to yoga next week.
But I still want that massage. I know just where I’ll get one, too. Megan McDonald, a licensed massage therapist practicing at Fox Valley Wellness for more than 10 years, is a wonder. An absolute, deep-tissue-working wonder. After an hour with her I feel like I’ve taken off my body – and my cluttered mind – and draped them over a chair. Bliss and energy and that “new-woman” feeling, all rolled into one.
As soon as I turn in this column – and take the kids school shopping and finish the laundry and walk the dog and pay the bills – I’ll make that call. (On second thought, though, maybe I’ll make the call before I pay the bills.)
In the meantime, I’ll snatch moments from my chaotic life to close my eyes. Even if it means making the dog lay down with me on some random neighbor’s lawn while we’re taking a walk, should the sun suddenly make an appearance.
Yes. And while I’m resting my head on my big red dog and taking slow, deep breaths, I’ll imagine I’m swimming slowly, ebbing and flowing with the tide, alongside those majestic and mellow sea turtles again. Because when life gets hairy I draw on the good vibes of whatever Zen moment I can quickly recall and dwell there in my mind, if only for a moment. Because a mom’s life – and, indeed, any life – needs that, sometimes.
• Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her husband, Todd, and their two children, Noah and Holly. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.