The Substitute

I woke up with a headache so great I wasn’t sure how I could even be a mom today.  The children began asking for breakfast and the chickens needed to get out and I just couldn’t lift my head off my pillow, which wasn’t very “pillow-y”at all it seemed.  I couldn’t decide if my stomach was agreeing with my pounding, spinning head because of the Chinese food from the day before, or because my headache was just beyond the borders of bearable.  It was the kind of pain that tells you to go take something, but you just can’t get up to do it.

When teachers are sick, they can call in a substitute.  I wanted a sub.  I wanted to stay right there in my misery and call in someone to take over for a day.  Just a day.  A lot of other professions get sick days.  Where was Human Resources in the mommy profession?    I let the kids help each other to a bowl of cereal and laid there till my neighbor called and said she was bringing over some cake.  And then I had no choice but to jump out of bed and move.  I grabbed a few ibuprofen and a coke, hoping to settle my stomach and thinking caffeine might help the gong someone was ringing in my head.  I managed to go out and feed the chickens and hoe a couple rows in the garden quick for some fresh air while I waited for the medicine to work.

A buyer called for the truck we were getting rid of and said they wanted to come over then. Right then.  The only caller we had in weeks!  I tried to wake the sleeping bear child of ours who owned the truck and who didn’t want to be awake either, since he works nights.  That started a domino effect of grumping in the house.  Two girls couldn’t agree on a how to build a fort, leaving one in tears.  Two wanted to get cleaning in a room that another brother wouldn’t let them in.  That brother needed to get dropped at work because it was raining and to top it off, I discovered this giant family with a mom with an upset stomach and a pounding, spinning head was on its last roll of toilet paper.

Yep…that’s how the day started…

I dropped the son at work and with it now raining outside, the rest of the girls were all finally agreeing on playing a board game.  The grumpy son went to buy a part for the truck, and I decided I better head to the store for the toilet paper.  I chose the farther drive, just because toilet paper and gas was a better there, and no sooner than I got off the freeway half an hour from home, my cell phone rang and grumpy son called to say, “Mom, I think Emma broke her arm.”  She was walking backward carrying a box of books and stepped on her own foot sending her flying.

The low fuel light came on.  Where is that sub I called for?….

My son got her comfortable with some ibuprofen and ice and I did a 30 second dash in for the toilet paper and $5 worth of gas.  I raced back toward home as he raced toward me to meet somewhere in the middle.  Then we drove the 45 min back down to the doctor’s office where he indeed pronounced it broke.

My daughter said, “we are so lucky.”  Huh?  We never use the word “luck” in our family, we usually say “blessed.”   Semantics aside for today only, I wondered how she figured that!  I wasn’t feeling blessed, lucky or anything positive really.  “Dad’s insurance.  It’s great that the company kept his insurance till the end of the month.”  It was my husband’s first day at a new job.  Truth is, we could’ve been without insurance today and we weren’t.  Yep, huge blessing. “And Dr. Mike was in the office when we called.”  Oh yeah…   I glanced at my phone, soccer was cancelled because of the rain… my son could stay at work…another blessing.   Another notification popped up while I was looking…a friend posted about thankfulness.  Now?  Yes, Lord, I’m getting the picture.  ‘No longer grumpy son’ called to say he was buying pizza for the family for dinner.   Thank you Lord.  My husband who missed out on the day’s fun called to say he liked his new job.  Thank you Lord.  My heart was finally going where my head wasn’t.

I put the chickens away when I got home, cleaned the pool filter, cleaned up a little of the table, and within an hour my headache rose back up to it’s previous level.  But, we made it through the day.  Not very gracefully, but we made it.  Thank you, Lord.  We even have toilet paper.  We are blessed.   I am thankful.

Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t have a sub for the day… I might have missed the blessed part.