Little House on the Prairie

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!

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
14 comments
  1. […] long periods of moving extremely slowly. Unless, of course, I can count that week last year with pneumonia during which I moved so slowly that I appeared to be stationary. If you can give me credit for […]

  2. ps: what did Greg think of my ‘teaser’?(I don’t know if this is a term you guys use, it’s used quite frequently over here, I hope there’s not sexual connotation… if so, ehm, can I use the ‘English is my second language-card’? 😉 )
    Anyway, I sure hope it made him book a ticket straight away! (or maybe a family ticket to NC this summer, so we can all go to Myrtle Beach and check out those southern museums? or in our case: wait till our husbands get back from the museums and have loads of local goodies while we wait… 🙂 )

  3. That is the saddest sad girlfriend story ever! You definitely need some fruit-salad making girlfriends. I’m not sure how well it’ll ship to Holland, but I’ll do my best… perhaps a dried fruit salad? Or – yum – a fruit salad made out of chocolate covered dried fruit.

    Well, I know what I’m going to do while Greg’s in all those Dutch museums… make a girlfriend dinner. 🙂

    1. yay! can’t wait! (especially the chocolate covered dried fruit sounds delicious 🙂 )

  4. The girlfriend&parent&faithful husband story actually makes me want to get sick again… (no, not really, dramatic emphasis and all, you know 😉 ) No, I’d better not get sick, cause I highly doubt my girlfriends will come through like yours… So then the question is: would you fly over here? Come to think of it, Greg might not like me very much when I’m the reason you leave him temporarily… Hmmm, so then I wonder: would you consider moving your entire family to Holland then? 😉
    Feel better soon! (and stay away from that stair case!)

    1. WHAT?? You need better girlfriends! Bare minimum… someone to tell you how awful it’s gonna be and someone else to let you be the illness winner… these are girlfriend requirements.

      Yes – I think Greg’s going to institute a “Beth may not leave” rule for quite some time after this month of extended single parenting. Too bad I just spent all our international travel money on medication, because otherwise I could’ve convinced Greg to vacay w/ me in Holland… just have to lure him w/ museums (he’s easy that way).

      Beth

      1. Oh no, NOT THE INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL MONEY!!! I’ll start a fundraiser for you guys first thing tomorrow morning… My colleagues can be very giving people, plus they sometimes let their wallets lying around in the teacher’s lounge. 😉 Let me see what’s in the kids’ piggy banks. Nope, very few euros there, probably won’t even buy you a bag of airplane peanuts 🙁
        Btw: you want a sad girl friend story? Sure you do. I started making my girlfriends-who-had-just-given-birth as many delicious things (casserroles, cakes, fruit salads, you name it) as I could possibly manage a few years ago. I brought it over (or made Mark bring it as I was just completely exhausted from all the cooking, I’m no Martha Stewart I’m afraid, it really takes it out of me…) while they were still recovering from all of the harshness of dilating, pushing and what not. I actually got the idea from ‘Desperate Housewives’ where it always seems to me that everyone (okay, Bree mainly, but still, there’s a little part of me that REALLY wants to be her) keeps bringing over muffins and pasta dishes (or something along those lines) every time stuff happens with someone (sorry, I’ll try to be more specific next time, can you tell it’s past my bed time? ;-)). So I figured when I’d just given birth to our youngest one that we wouldn’t have to worry about food for at least two weeks… Think again. Really, think again. I did. The outcome was still: one lasagna dish. One. (it was delicious and since Koen doesn’t eat anything that has a hint of vegetable in it, we made it last for two days, but still… One. One dish.) Can you tell I’m still disappointed? You probably can. I need new girlfriends. Girlfriends who don’t forget birthdays and/or anniversaries. Who don’t mind coming to one of my kids’ birthdays just to act as a lightning rod between me and my family, girlfriends who ask me how I’m doing and then actually listen to my answer. Girlfriends who don’t comment on my mood swings after three sleepless pukefests (aka know as nights to kid-free peeps) Okay, I’m done lamenting now. 😉 Will you send me a fruit salad next time I have a baby? Please?

      2. ps @Greg: Mark’s been doing some research on the awesomest museums over here and you’ll love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! (Did I emphasize that enough? I sure hope I did. Or should I throw in another ‘love’? Just say the word…) Anyway, I realize that you might want to hear about those truly amazing places before booking a ticket, but unfortunately I can’t tell you anything about it. Sorry. You have to come see for yourself. It’s a Dutch thing. (Did you book the tickets yet? No? Why not? Should I add some more teasers? A cliffhanger of some sort? Help me out here…) 🙂

  5. I feel your pain-I’ve had pneumonia three times (hospitalized!!) I really WANTED to die. Please get better soon.
    Yes, thank God for good girlfriends.

    1. Yikes! I’ll be grateful for my time in bed, then, and not in the hospital! Although I admit, when Greg asked me if I needed anything the other night, I did reply “a way to end it all.” Now there’s lovely snow outside, and kind comments from bloggy friends, so I’ll hold off. 🙂

      Beth

  6. Beth, you blog so well…even whilst struck down with Pneumonia! (And I LOVED those Little House books too. Ma is always the heroin) Hope you’re resting up and soon back to strength, but not before you get some more TLC from parents, friends and hubby! 🙂

    1. Sarah! So great to hear from you! Thanks for the well wishes and the kind words. Congrats on being an auntie!

      Beth

  7. Did I forget to mention you’re awesome?

    1. Aw! Thanks for the mention! 🙂

      Beth

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