When I was a kid and we would go on road trips, I was too impatient to reach our destination. I would tug on my father’s sleeve every 5 minutes and ask how much longer until we reached our vacation home, a motel with an over-chlorinated swimming pool. I would beg him to tell me how many more miles, until we could exit our hotbox of flatulence and sweat.
We would often drive 10 hours in one day. Even with the windows open, the atmosphere and scent would grow stale after the first 2 hours. I could sense my father’s annoyance with my constant “how much longer?” or “how many more miles?” questions, but I persevered. I hoped that if I asked enough the car would go faster. Yes, zero logic and 100% pest.
Usually, after about the fifth sleeve tug, my dad would ask me to count the reflectors on the side of the road and tell me they were miles. He would tell me to count to 1000 or sometimes even 10000. I wasn’t bright enough to catch on and it would keep me busy. It ranked up there with 99 bottles of beer on the wall, but it would pass time.
There were no iPads or in-car TVs. There were only notebooks, Walkmans and books. Basically, 2 music tapes, 1 notebook and a few books; hardly enough to fill up 10 hours, while sitting backwards without a seatbelt in our station wagon.
Well, Karma is a biatch because I’m receiving my father’s pesky punishment three-fold, this Christmas. The entire family has been sick, so our holiday, bubble family has had no other option, but to live in solitary confinement for the past few days. And, for a four-year-old, that’s like one really, really long road trip, especially with Christmas around the bend. Instead of “how many more miles?”, it’s “is it Christmas yet?”.
My husband has been the most sick of the three of us, so he’s been resting, while my little, holiday “tattoo” irritates me and gets under my skin. It’s like the tattoo artist used a bad needle and I caught an infection. Instead of pus, I’m covered in snot. Yes, it’s gross, but I’m bathing in it, so I have no sympathy for your stomachs.
Anytime I sit at the computer or even stare out the window, my holiday tattoo asks, “What are you doing? Will you play with me? When is it Christmas, Mommy?” My imaginary noose drops and I do my best to refrain from slinging my neck. And, I’m sick, so I can’t self-medicate with a little vino. Cough syrup just makes me sleepy and I’m the designated parent, so I need to stay awake and aware.
We watched the movie Click yesterday and I pretended my remote was universal and it would either shut my little, Santa groupie up (I now know what my husband goes through, wishing there was a mute button on his remote) or speed up time to Xmas morning (hopefully, with a healthy family and piles of wrapping paper everywhere). The lesson of the movie was clearly lost on this near-insane mama. If Christopher Walken handed me a blue remote, I would grab the thing out of his hands. In fact, sometimes when I go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, I hope I’ll find the “Beyond” section.
I almost pretended Christmas and Santa came early yesterday morning and let my daughter open all of her presents, so she’d have games to play and crafts to do. Hubs wouldn’t have gone for that. Not enough Cheratussin with codeine to calm his cough, I guess.
The one positive thing about being sick and on lockdown right before Christmas: I’ll appreciate our health and ability to breathe fresh air in a few days…even more. And, my glass will definitely be FULL of vino.