Oh. My. God. Enough already.
Here I sit, at my kitchen island, circa 9 p.m. I await some final changes to a project that I must get to our Australian team this evening so they can work on it while I sleep. I am getting instant messaged by someone who also is up working at this hour on a different project with a similar deadline. And I owe that person changes. It’s a never-ending game of Monkey on Your Back.
My eldest just threw up loudly upstairs. He tells me he “didn’t quite make it all the way to the bathroom.” So, vomit awaits me on the second floor.
My youngest is eating what I’m sure is his tenth snack of the evening, chatting away as I try to a) type, b) ignore the vomit (for now) and c) contemplate how to rearrange my son’s makeup math test because he’s sick yet again and ponder how long it will be before I’ll ever take a bubble bath again. (I’ll take short odds on 2020.)
And my youngest chats away:
“Luc wore his gym shoes to the zoo on our field trip last year by mistake. We’re not supposed to do that, but everyone gets confused sometimes.”
I absentmindedly say, “Hmm? Yes, dear. Right.” Type frantically two separate instant messages as yet another teammate tells me she’s on a conference call with Asia and needs me to chime in on something.
“Mom, the French are smarter than us. They make Monday the first day of the week, which makes sense. I don’t know who picked Sunday as the first day of the week on our calendar, but it’s stupid.”
I admonish, “Don’t say ‘stupid.’ But you’re right. Monday makes more sense.” Type type type. Send.
“And Mom, first grade has the best drinking fountain—the coldest, best water. Second grade is disgusting. Third grade is OK. Fourth grade and up—now those drinking fountains are the best. Mom—are you listening?”
“Yes, M,” I say. “I hear you. Cold water. Always the best.”
“Mom, did I tell you we’re trying to learn The Three Bears in French?” He follows with a string of incomprehensible French words that I can only assume is a Three Bears soliloquy.
“Very nice, Boo. Your accent is really great.”
And then, I stop. It hits me. Stop typing, you dimwit. Look him in the eye. And listen.
So I do. I hear how he is very proud of his newfound skating abilities. He ranks himself and his three best friends on this skate-o-meter quite proudly. He tells me about the new book he’s reading and how much he loves it. About what he had for dinner tonight with his father and why he thinks he forgot his math book today. And, that his small group at school won the coding contest by a more than 100-point margin.
Is any of this earth-shattering? No. Will it help my colleagues in Asia or Australia? Absolutely not (and yes, they’re still pinging me left and right). Is the vomit upstairs drying on my carpet as we speak? Probably. (Don’t judge me, people.)
It may not be earth-shattering, but it’s fleeting. Oh man, so fast these days go. My retching elder son barely wants to tell me the time when I ask him, let alone talk to me about French or the book he is reading.
I love this little boy chatter. So much so that I’m cutting this blog entry short. I’m heading upstairs to step gingerly through my vomit-filled hallway and read to this wonderful little boy. And then listen a bit more. Because there will always be monkeys waiting to jump on my back. But this little guy won’t wait. He’ll grow up whether I listen or not.
“Mom,” he yells down the stairs. “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”
“That’s ok, sweets,” I say. “You have plenty of time to figure that out.” But in the meantime, I’m heading upstairs to help with this existential crisis. Oh, and clean up vomit. All while tucking two boys into bed.