When your kids’ nursery school teacher sends you an email mid-day with the subject line: Gorilla Girl’s health, you know deep down that you have been one of those parents, the kind that sends your kid to school with a snotty nose, cough, and probably some sort of unidentified bug. That was me yesterday — I got the message as I was heading to my last two class periods of the day, and figured that if GG was still not doing well by that evening, I’d keep her home. Nursery teacher kindly reminded me that Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl might not do so well if one was in school and the other not, but I needn’t have worried since Monkey Man also was equally crusty-nosed. When we arrived home, Monkey Man had already nodded off in the stroller, despite the chill and fierce wind of our homeward bound walk. It was time to call in for a sub, and prepare for a day of sick, grumpy four-year olds wondering why they were having a stay at home day.
In a strange way, I relished the idea of hunkering down at home, watching some movies, eating soup, drinking tea — oh, wait, that is what I would do if I was home sick ALONE. Right, so when Ed wondered if I was going to take the kiddos to Michigan this morning at 7:00 am, I thought, why not?
It hadn’t occurred to me that sick day might = day at our Michigan house.
But, I packed them up, and took the hour drive while they noticed that the sun was peeking out behind the clouds.
It was a mud-fest in the driveway when we arrived — a sure harbinger of the spring that I can smell but still can’t see.
We baked Irish Brown Bread (to warm up the house), and I did some laundry.
Late in the afternoon, the sun was out in earnest, and we needed some new reading material, so we headed for the library. I owed $12.50 in fines (more than the Chicago Public Library — guess small towns need their cash!), but the librarian was helpful in letting me know that next time I should just call in my renewal (they don’t have a website, but they have big fines and phones). We got eight books and two movies, loaded up our backpack and headed for the park. By this time, the clouds had overshadowed the sun, but it was still warm and breezy, like an early spring day, with puddles of melting snow and still-brown leaves newly uncovered from the thaw.
Our park trip was energetic and yet relaxed. I remember how I used to be more worried about Monkey Man hurting himself, but he was full of adventure and ability, and I set my worry loose while I watched. They played on the swings, built rock castles, went head first down the slide, and finally headed home with me to make sweet potato pancakes for dinner. After dinner, we read all eight books and went to bed (well, Monkey Man and Gorilla Girl finally hit the sack).
The simplicity of the day and the peaceful joy of it, in its slowness and domesticity make me glad for this unexpected gift of the ability to call in to stay home with my two sick kids. They are on the mend, and no doubt the calmness and deliberate pace of the day had a hand in that.