It could have been worse


I had been looking forward to this week, in the middle of the summer, since the middle of winter. Not because I was going anywhere, but because my children were. It was to be my one week all to myself, if you don’t count four-leggeds who live with me, but the fates had a different plan.

I spent last week with my daughter when she wasn’t hanging out with friends, or at her twice-a-week soccer bootcamp. We had a few rare moments together, which included an outing to her favorite restaurant where she happily ate eggs bennie with a mug of forbidden coffee.

My son was at basketball camp.

Then, over the weekend, he went to his buddy’s birthday party where eight boys camped out in a tent and maybe got a combined two-hours of sleep.

I should have know by then things might not go according to plan…

After pick-up on Sunday morning, I drove my very tired, but happy, son home where promptly took a shower and went to bed.

Five hours later, the dog barked at the neighbor’s cat and woke him before I could. I didn’t want him to sleep the day, and then not the night.

Monday morning brought a cold rain, and I made breakfasts and packed lunches for my two children as they prepared for their days at camp. I knew my daughter would be fine, she’d had a relatively relaxing week and weekend, and her camp was going to be indoors. Based on the forecast, I was hoping for a good dose of common sense on the part of my son’s counselors, even though he was supposed to be playing baseball.

After dropping off six children (only two of them mine) to their respective camps, I made my way back home.  I had five hours before I needed to get back in the car for pick-up. The majority of which I spent staring at two computers, one containing my manuscript, the other YouTube tutorials on how to format it into a book. After three hours I started to get nauseous from turning my head back and forth from screen to screen, and holding my breath every time I made a change, so I put it aside. I ate lunch, puttered around the house, checked social media, and headed back out into the cold rain to pick up the six kids I had brought to camp.

While I drove, the nagging worry I held in my gut all day started to itch for release. I really hope they kept the kids inside, I kept telling myself, until I pulled into the driveway of the fields and realized there were no kids to be found.

“They’ve got them at the field house,” one parent revealed, “They’re walking down now.” In the pouring rain. My daughter was at the field house across campus, I knew how far a walk it was.

Five minutes later, the groups of boys started appearing. Some of them wore caps, some of them worse sweatshirts. Some of them were simply dripping rain over t-shirts. When I saw my son, he looked unhappy. Miserable might be a more apt word. His blue sweatshirt was hanging with the weight of water off his shoulders, and his red hat was leaking rain down his hair (from the inside). His summer skin was a ghostly white.

By the time I got him in the car, 10-15 minutes later, after the counselors had given out the two “camper of the day” awards, my son was shivering for warmth. I handed him the mug of hot chocolate I had bought on my way to get him, and turned the heater of his seat on. “I can’t get warm,” he kept telling me as he gulped his hot chocolate down. It turns out they had spent the morning outside, in the pouring, cold rain, the afternoon mostly indoors, where they never fully dried out, then walked across campus, in the pouring cold rain, back to the ballfields for pickup. Why they never thought to keep the kids inside, or to at least call the parents for pickup at the field-house at the end of the day, I can’t tell you. But it could have been worse. They could have kept them out all day.

And, my son could have come down with pneumonia or mono, instead of strep. But I didn’t know that until today.

Monday night brought a fever, and after picking at his dinner, my son went to bed. Tuesday morning he slept in, and when he woke his forehead still felt warm. The thermometer read 100.4. I breathed a sigh of relief. It could have been worse.

We spent the day inside, my son sleeping, not eating much, and playing a little on his PS4.  After a shower, it was another early-to-bed for him. When he woke this morning, he ate half a bagel with some juice and told me his stomach was bothering him, but his temperature was down to 99.7. It could have been worse, but I suspected strep.

At 11am the rapid test taken at the doctor’s office confirmed my suspicion, and I breathed a rather large sigh of relief. It could have been much worse.

It hardly mattered, after that, that my son threw up all over the living room floor, his socks and the bottom half of the (new) sofa after I got him home,  because I knew he would be feeling better soon enough, and that it could have been much worse.

He’s now napping upstairs, and I’m waiting for my daughter to be driven home from camp. All four bathrooms have been cleaned. Another load of laundry has been washed and hung outside to dry in the sun that decided to break apart two days of clouds, and I am feeling grateful because it could have been worse. Much worse. And, maybe by Friday, my son will be well enough to sneak out to our favorite restaurant for some french toast before his sister gets home from camp.


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