We are back in the land of the living – but barely! And it all began after Harrison and I hitched our wagon to Tone’s Brisbane work trip for 6 days. Oh yes, its all fun and games going away until someone gets sick. Or in this case, some-three-people end up ill. But, such is the matter made from myths and legends, that parents, like the great Phoenix, we rise from our ailing ashes and amble on!
Take for instance this past Tuesday. Its 5.55am in Brisbane, my alarm springs to life signalling this day must begin. Which is fine except only a few hours back I was getting rather personally acquainted with the bathroom tiles and toilet bowl. Which (without spelling it out further) signifies a mammoth lack of sleep and a matching cold and tummy bug to boot. No problem, except I am due on a plane in 2 hours and have to get packed up, checked out and to the airport, all with sick son and husband who is also not running at 100%.
The son, being unwell, naturally does not wish to be fed his breakfast in the car en route to airport. Mummy, also being unwell, naturally does not have energy to fight, instead indulges in some slight cursing under her breath at the timing of this illness. Daddy, in the front, and safely away from the commotion in the back seat, wisely offers choice words of comfort to wife and child before zooming off down the Coast to work (read play golf).
So, then, picture this. 5 foot tall mum, barely able to stand straight with fear of retching, has 10kg son strapped to self in Baby Bjorn Carrier. With free hands she pushes 7kg pram and 10kg luggage, with nappy bag barely shrugged on to her shoulder, negotiating oncoming traffic and fellow passengers, and all the while acutely aware her plane will board at any time. Oh the joys of the cold war, a battle fought on many fronts…
Check in done, we approach the treacherous security station. Now, in Sydney its insisted that you remove the Baby Bjorn Carrier from your self and allow it to be X-rayed, because, oh, I don’t know, its an obvious place to conceal a weapon?! Give me strength! Anyhow, dutifully, I commence laborious movements and untangle myself from various hand luggage and son only to then be told by Guard “in Queensland, we don’t make mothers do this”. Helpful yes, BUT PERHAPS ABOUT FIVE MINUTES EARLIER, when you were standing there watching me painstakingly remove this device that on a good day I need a university degree to work out how to use!
None the less, we arrive at the Gate where I heave myself and Harrison towards the criminally cheerful attendant, wondering whether I have time to get a piece of toast to feed my supposedly famished son. “Sure” she says, all smiles “10 minutes til boarding”. But of course, moments from dragging my feet to the food queue, they call our flight to board, asking for people travelling with Children to take first preference. I sigh and readjust my ever increasingly heavy son; toast will have to wait.
On board and all is settled. We’ve unpacked all our required bag of tricks for the 90 min flight and I’m gratefully resting my head on my beautiful boys soft skin. That is, until a slight commotion breaks out in the aisle near me. Apparently someone has sat in the wrong allocated seat. Boarding Passes are being checked. I almost shake my head in pity at the silly person who has done this.
Apparently that silly person was me.
So there we go again, me mustering my invisible well of strength and scooping up all our goods and dumping then unceremoniously in the seat in front. I then spend the next 90 minutes both remembering to breathe and holding my breath all at once. The sick bag is being constantly kept within reach, but gratefully not needed to be used.
You can be thankful for small mercies. The plane was on time, my boy was mostly well behaved (minus the smearing of half a blueberry muffin on to my lap) but come baggage collection time I was spent. With no energy left to even stand, I crouched down with the pretence of whispering something into my son’s ear, but all I was truly doing was storing some energy to try and now get all our worldly goods home.
But we made it. And after putting my son straight to bed, I collapsed in one giant crumpled heap on the lounge room floor, relief flooding through me we’d made it this far, relatively intact! And, despite the fact later that afternoon I rang my husband tearfully telling him that my wallet had been stolen (it was in fact sitting on the dining room table, a minor detail I noticed AFTER I cancelled my debit card) and almost crashed the car when parking in our garage (mental note, keep applying break, don’t for some reason switch to accelerator when brick wall is approaching) we have survived to tell the tale.
Murphy’s Law will have it that we’ll no doubt continue to be on the battering end of more foul colds before this year is out. There has been 5 in 9 months at last count for me alone, and all at a time when I can LEAST afford to be sick. There is no languishing in my sick bed, sleeping away what ails me or dozing in front of bad daytime TV. No, instead life must go on as my boss (Harrison) insists that sick leave was not a part of my contract when we negotiated our terms of agreement. Certainly its fine for him to be ill and have me tend to his varied ailments (we’d agreed that upfront and signed it off) but for some reason he’s not so sure about Mummy taking time out to tend to her own wounds inflicted in this oh so cold war…