Little House on the Prairie

Feb 23 2011

I feel very Little House on the Prairie right now.

Kids: Pa!  Ma’s stuck in bed with pneumonia and the winter storm’s comin’ on!  What are we gonna do, Pa?

Pa: Well, we hardly know how to feed and clothe ourselves without yer Ma, but we’re just gonna do the best we can, kids. The best we can.

Yeah, that’s not exactly how it’s going.  It’s actually a touch disheartening how well everyone does without my intervention, which is why I have to write TV scripts to make myself feel better.

The winter storm that’s a-comin’?  It’s supposed to arrive in the next hour and last for… wait for it… 1 day.

There will be SNOW! (We don’t get much of that.  Can you tell?)  This is breaking news that’s taking over our TV channels.  The assorted weather people assure us that they mean it this time.  Snow for sure.  Stores are selling out of snow gear.  People are stocking up on water.  For, I kid you not, a one-day snow event.

The truth is, the grown-ups I know may be more excited than the kids.  Time to break out the concentrated Kool-Aid and make snow cones with real snow.  Mmmmm!  Can’t wait!

In other late breaking news, I finally have a diagnosis that explains all my whining, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Pneumonia.

Officially, according to a new doctor (who ordered a chest x-ray this time, bless his heart!), it’s “big.”  Yep.  That’s what he said.  Lots of cloudy crap all over that x-ray.  Which explains a lot of things, like why I’m getting winded typing this.

So I did what any reasonable, responsible woman would do in similar circumstances after finding out I’m confined to bed for at least 5 days.

I called my mommy and daddy, and I emailed my girlfriends.

Moms of the world, here’s the truth.  Parenting small children can feel like one of the most isolating, lonely jobs on the planet.  There are lots of times when there’s just no one around who’s available to help… not even your mommy… and you have to suck it up, cry your tears and figure out how to not shake the baby.  (Don’t shake the baby!)  It completely and utterly sucks, and there’s no help for it.

At first, parenting small kids made me less willing to ask for or accept help.  I can think of lots of reasons why, but I suspect the biggest was that I was afraid.  What if I accepted help and came to depend on it?  What if it let me down?  I didn’t think I’d be able to stand it.  My strength was a fragile thing, and I was terrified it would be snapped by any show of weakness.

Now, I’m a touch more pliable.  I bend a little more.  I snap sometimes, but it’s a work in process.

I take the risk of asking.  Here’s what it netted me this time:

  1. Mommy and Daddy – pharmacy run for lots of spendy drugs, store run for Gatorade and Zone bars (and giant pads to wear for when I cough too much… which I probably shouldn’t mention in public, but, hey, I can always blame it on the narcotics), chicken and rice dinner for the whole family, and afternoon/evening childcare… yeehaw!
  2. Girlfriend Kim – bossy bossed everyone around, canceled social engagements at my request, and told everyone how it’s gonna be.  Plus, this girlfriend has the spiritual gift of making meals for people in need.  She’s always pushing food, to my family’s benefit.
  3. Girlfriend Leslie – offered “anything” ’cause she’s “around”… do I feel a playdate for the twins coming on?  Oh, I think I do.
  4. Girlfriend Melissa – shared her own encouraging story of recovering from pneumonia.  Ended with “Your stair case is really, really long.  Be careful.  I realize you probably won’t be traversing it for a couple of days, but the energy takes a long time to get back.  You’re welcome.”
  5. Girlfriend Leanne, who’s had a bronchial thing going on longer than I have, declared me the illness winner.  I LOVE winning!  Yay, me!  Does this girlfriend know me, or what??

If you don’t have girlfriends, get some.  They will see you through life in a way no one else can.

If you don’t have a good mommy and daddy, borrow someone else’s.  Seriously.  My parents did it.  My friends have borrowed mine.  Good mommies and daddies are around for the asking.  They really are.

And, of course, there’s Greg.  He’s been single parenting for many moons now.  Unsung hero, I’m singing.  Not really, because singing makes me cough, but the sentiment is there.

Kids: Pa!  Ma’s stuck in bed with pneumonia and the winter storm’s comin’ on!  What are we gonna do, Pa?

Ma, interrupting:  Someone bring me a snow-cone!