Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Uncle John's Blam: When there's danger at your door

Sunday morning was picture perfect. My husband woke me up with coffee and the paper, and we sat in bed and read and drank our coffee and surfed the net on our portable electronic devices with the dog sleeping peacefully between us, while all the children were entertaining themselves far, far away downstairs, watching TV and playing video games. It was a rare, blissful and relaxing Sunday morning. Until the dog threw up.

The vomit came with little warning. She let out a small cough, then, BLAM. Right there on the bed. Our little slice of paradise was ruined. Not to mention what she'd done to the comforter. Yuck. The smell was so vile I had dry heaves. Me. The woman who dealt with countless stinky diapers. In stereo. I pride myself on my cast iron stomach.

Before the vomit, I'd been sitting in that idyllic state of coffee and quiet, and I think I had just allowed that little internal voice inside my head to say something along the lines of, Isn't this just perfect? And then that self-congratulatory moment was immediately followed up with a BLAM. How did the Grateful Dead put it? When life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door. I don't think they were referring to vomit, but I guess danger can come in many forms. And I believe one of us, as we fled screaming from the bed, did yell, "Save yourself!"

But life is like this when you have pets. And it's even more like this with kids. How many times have you carved out a pocket of time, secretly setting it aside for a personal, me-time treat of your choice (like a manicure or yoga or a hot cup of tea in complete and total silence) only to have it, after you spent even more time viciously protecting this little pocket against all interlopers (like errands or appointments) go BLAM!, when school calls because someone got hurt or a kid wakes up sick. And then it's gone. Poof. Just like that.

So instead of yoga or a run, you find yourself running to a doctor's office or just sitting in the kitchen playing Uno or Scrabble for hours on end. But when the day is over, you realize you did have a pretty special treat, some one-on-one time with a kid you don't normally get to spend a whole lot of one-on-one time with, at least not without even greater time-carving shenanigans than it takes to get your yoga in.

Sometimes an unexpected BLAM can remind us of what's really important. And it's even better if afterward, you don't have to wash a comforter.

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