It was either the stomach flu or food poisoning. I can't remember which, but the result is pretty much the same, right? Anyway, so I'm bent over the toilet, violently vomiting, groaning pathetically in between the massive, heaving wretches. (Sorry for the disgusting detail, but I really want you to understand the severity of the scene.)
It's approximately 10:00 in the morning. I've been in pretty much the same position since I woke up three or so hours ago. There is no mistaking the situation. This Roaring Mom was really, really sick.
So Kate (she's about nine years old here) runs to the bathroom and stands in the doorway.
I hold up one index finger in her direction. It's the same sign I give when I'm on the phone or in the middle of something to let the kids know to just give me one second.
Wow. Whatever she needed must be really important. I didn't smell smoke, so the house wasn't on fire. Didn't hear screaming, so most likely, no one had a broken bone.
I risked a quick glance in her direction, still keeping my face aimed over the toilet bowl.
The look on her face was not one of emergency induced panic. It was more like...annoyance.
Up came the next vicious wave of vomit. This time I think my stomach actually dislodged itself from my insides.Finally, I rested my forehead on my forearm on the other side of the toilet bowl. You know the pose..the one taken on those college mornings after you thought tequila shot challenges were a good idea. Yeah, that pose.
"Yes, Katie? What's wrong?"
Huff! "Do you know where my roller blades are?"
Fortunately for her, I didn't have enough energy to chase her down and pinch her little head off.
"No, Katie, I don't. But when I'm done puking my guts up, I'll be glad to find them for you."
Double Huff! "Nevermind! God!"
That experience wasn't my first validation of the rumor that Mom's don't get sick. But it was certainly one of the most memorable. Since then, I've learned that we also don't get tired, frustrated, or annoyed. Or at least, we're not supposed to. And when we do, somehow using that reality as an explanation to our children as to why our own words or behavior might have been less than ideal, does really cut it.
"I'm sorry honey, Mommy's just really tired."
That's when they look at us like we're speaking Swahili.
This morning, nine years after the roller blades incident, I had another realization--that kids never really change, they just get older.
"Kate, I need you to take Sophie to and from rehearsal tonight. The other kids have Battle of the Books after school. Then I'm driving the carpool to track practice and Frank to soccer. After that I have a graduation meeting at the school. I'll give you money for gas, okay?"
"Really, Mom? Why can't you take her?"
"What's the matter? Will this interfere with your social life?"
"Well then, instead of driving her, you can figure out how I can be three places at once. That would work, too."
"You're not funny, Mom."
Actually, I thought it was a little funny. Besides, interfering with a teenager's social life is pretty decent payback for the callous interruption of my barf session just to locate a pair of roller blades.