I Painted My Fingers Red

Feb 23 2015

I sat in the sun yesterday and painted my fingernails fire engine red, which I didn’t have time to do.

It’s an early spring here, and we Oregonians feel both elated to see the sun and guilty our American neighbors to the east remain buried under yards of snow. 

We had another puker Friday night at our house. Kid number 4 out of 5 with this bug. Ten days and counting for our family. Twelve hours straight of vomiting Friday night, from 3pm until 3am Saturday, but he’s eight years old now, so he hit the bucket every time which feels like a miracle and a blessing. Parenting changes you, is what I’m saying. Pre-parenting, I can’t imagine I would’ve considered it a win to be up all night with a puker even if he did sink every basket — SWOOSH — no rim! Now I know sick happens, and we can do hard things, especially together, and it’s a Strange Joy to rub my baby’s back and brush the hair off his forehead and know he’s comforted by my squishy body in bed next to him, on the mend in the end thanks, in part, to me. 

I spent Friday night awake with my kid and the wee hours of Saturday morning sacked out; ostensibly sleeping in, but really trying to make a dent in my overall sleep deficit. I woke up feeling lazy and embarrassed I’d slept ’til 11am, as though, despite the sick kid and the work I’d done to comfort and protect him through the night, I should’ve conjured stamina where none was left so I could rise with the sun and be Diligent and Work Harder and Work Longer and Do More and, therefore, ultimately, Be More.

Which is where we often find ourselves, isn’t it? Inside this pressure cooker, self-imposed and otherwise, to Be More. To Do More so that we ARE More. To quiet the demons of Not Enough

Except.

Except.

Except. 

Except there’s always something left undone. Just always. Always weeds to pull. Always a child who needs more attention. Always something sticky on the couch and gummy in the window sills and dusty under the beds. There are always chores I haven’t attended to. Always dishes to find in the house and in the yard and in the car with lids and solid milk that smells like the week-old dead. Always a dog who needs a bath, and a kid, and me, too. Me, too, needing a bath, but I’m last on the list most days because Work Harder, Work Longer, Do More, Be More.

Yesterday, the list was long. Endless, really, full of Shoulds and Belateds and Not Yets, but the sun was out and I sat down, accidentally, on my front steps. I sat and I rested. I sat, and I watched. While the dog ran roughshod through the yard and the kids ran roughshoddier, I sat and let the sun warm me and painted my nails fire engine red. And you what? I was Enough.