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Breathe

January 3, 2012

Am I glad that is over with.  Deep breath.

What’s that, you say?  Well, pull up a chair and let me tell you.

As I type this at the nearby public library, I can feel the stress of the events of the past two or three weeks slowly seeping out of my body. Not a minute too soon.

Yeah, Christmas is great fun, ho ho ho.  I’ve always loved this time of year.  I’m a big fan of December snow, homes decked bushes to halls with boughs of holly and itty bitty lights, giving gifts, the scent of cinnamon and pine, the taste of egg nog and cookies.  What’s not to love, right?

How about the logistics of doing it all.  How about rushing around to mix, clean, shop, wrap, decorate, bake, install, assemble, detangle, fix.  And this on top of all the other crap I do on a daily basis for myself and, especially, for my family.  This year, though, it was different.  Four reasons why.  Their names are Drew, Alex, Connor and Audrey.  I’ll throw in two more names, Kat and Gary.

Essentially, Kat and I hosted my old friend and former college roommate Gary and his two kids, Connor (9) and Audrey (4).  They stayed with us from December 16 until yesterday.  Now…we LOVE Gary and his kids…  Connor plays especially well with Drew.  Audrey plays especially well with everyone, plus she’s as cute as a pail of puppies.  And Gary is the finest babysitter we could ask for, which is a tall task given our little Alex.  Yet Gary rises gracefully to each and every challenge even when his own struggles are readily apparent.  Yep, there’s more to this story.

Gary was out of work for almost 2 years.  Somewhere during that time his wife cheated on him.  So now he’s divorced.  And his elderly mom is having health problems.  And his daughter Audrey suffers from asthma.  Finally, his son Connor fights bitterly with his absolutely nutzo ex-wife.  So I think I have problems?  But I digress.

As any parent will tell you, life becomes a balancing act of sorts.  Make sure the minions are fed, watered and not killing each other, wearing reasonably clean clothes and brushing their teeth and you can rest assured that DCFS won’t come a’ knocking.  Overlaying this upon the Christmas holiday season (and the very expectant visit by a generous Santa) make it more challenging.  Oh yeah, it was Connor’s birthday in there too.

And Kat and mine’s anniversary.  Details, details.

But then there was the trip to the hospital.  Not to visit a recuperating relative, either.  Rather to admit my wife to the ICU.  Yeah, that.

Did I mention my son Alex has become increasingly abusive without his typical day to day schedule?  That too.  Oh yeah, Gary’s mom was in the hospital on Christmas day.  And Audrey had an asthma attack a few days prior.

Let the good times roll.

But today respite came in the guise of one of Alex’s therapists.  This allowed me the slightest purchase in the form of time.  Free time.  Time when Kat can cook and play with Drew while Alex’s therapist works with Alex.  And Dave…can just exit stage left.

Which puts me here, sitting at the library, my laptop plugged in and warming my lap.  And I’m breathing.  Big, deep breaths.  Alex begins his school again tomorrow somewhere between 0755 and 0805, the arrival time of his little yellow school bus.  Assuming no mechanical issues, said transport will whisk him to the warm, inviting and capable arms of two wonderful teachers at his school.  And his daddy will kiss him goodbye, wave to him as the bus pulls away and deeply exhale again as I walk back in from the cold.  Normalcy?  Dunno what normal is much anymore.  All I know is that things have been far from normal these past 2 or 3 weeks.

Breathe.

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2 Comments
  1. Brian permalink

    Dave, when it comes to sharing your thoughts and emotion in the written form you have a true gift. That you wrap it with a bow in a way that keeps us hanging to read more is all the more engrossing. (Thanks for sharing.)

    Enjoy a closer to routine day, warm lap and all.
    🙂

  2. Julia permalink

    Dave, I just found your blog via your link on FB today. Much love to you dear. I am thinking of you often!

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