Let me start by inserting a spoiler alert. I’m writing this having just shotgunned about a gallon of NyQuil.
Yesterday I was bragging to my husband, Scot (who is fighting off a tiny cold and is bed-ridden for the foreseeable future, likely until next year’s elections) that due to my impervious genetic make-up, I‘ve not been sick for two or three years.
Today I’m tired, achy, sore, cranky, and my voice has dropped a couple of octaves (which is actually kind of cool in a Darth Vader-like way when I yell at my kids: “You don’t know the power of the dark side!”).
To top it all off, I’m really annoyed by the presence of a mouse we are rodent-sitting for my daughter Essa’s 2nd grade class during winter break.
Clearly, I’m sick, which brings me to Christmas Lesson #1: Don’t bring strange animals into your home during the holiday season. Or ever.
I’m sure, due to my clinically proven bionic DNA, that I’m not sick in the traditional fa-la-la-la-la kind of way, but have contracted Hantavirus from the vermin presently residing in a cage in the hall, and must immediately enter a self-constructed isolation chamber to keep my germs from spreading. That my dwelling will contain a posh “heavenly bed” overnight air-shipped from the W hotel downtown, soundproofed walls meant to muffle the screams of my children as they beat each other due to lack of parental supervision (remember, Scot is sick too), and the entire Twilight series on DVD is really none of your business.
As I wait for someone to help me self-construct my self-constructed parallel wellness universe, I decide to crawl into my daughter Grace’s bed (because it’s all about my health after all and Scot is in ours, with his baby cold) and sleep. Due to my spiking fever, I also sweat; a lot, and dream not about sugar plums fairies and stockings hung by the chimney with care, but mimes….evil clown-like ones walking around my house naked with 80s-style boom boxes on their shoulders blaring Kajagoogoo.
Christmas Lesson #2: Read all warning labels before self-medicating and resist the urge to download any bad 80s music while ignoring the aforementioned warning labels.
So, after about an hour of tossing and turning and stalking that cute guy in the A-Ha video, I wake up to find a plate of cold spaghetti, fourteen low-salt Ritz crackers, and a glass of something that looks suspiciously like Michelob Ultra by Grace’s bed. If nothing else, my kids know that alcohol makes mommy a better person.
In a traditional blog post, this is the part where I tell you how amazing my children are, imply or directly state that they are infinitely more caring than yours due to my superior parenting skills, and incidentally, that each just won the world-series championship of their respective sports (I don’t disclose that they competed in the loser’s bracket and rode the bench the entire season).
But I know my kids better than that, and as you’ve probably figured out, my fever is at its peak, the Nyquil is coursing through my veins (I can’t feel my cheekbones), and there is nothing normal about what I’m sharing right now.
Not to be fooled by my children’s faux-sympathy, I realize that in my over-the-counter-drug-induced fog, I promised them they could open presents sent from their grandparents in Kentucky after lunch, because I’m not ashamed to buy time at someone else’s expense when I need to sleep. And I need to sleep. Desperately. But they need me to eat.
Incidentally, before passing out, I also added that they had to clean the house and sanitize the mouse cage, because really, why should I be the only one in the family with a lab-rat disease scrubbing toilets?
Christmas lesson #3: If your children want any big-ticket items, pawn them off on your out-of-town parents who feel like it’s somehow their fault that you live so far away.
And now here I sit, semi-alert on the sofa and banging out this post that may or may not be based on actual events. The kids are skillfully playing the video games I asked their grandparents to send, gifts I requested not to improve their vocabulary or build their tender IQs, but to buy me the much-needed time to do nothing that every parent should have during the holiday season, and really, all year long.
As I fade in and out of consciousness, there’s a rhythmic hum of machine-gun fire in the background as they earn the required points to upgrade their MP5Ks to M14s and shoot each other into oblivion. I just love the good tidings of comfort and joy I feel when I chug cough syrup, I mean, when our family is spending true quality time together.
I’m getting sleepy again, so that’s it for my Christmas Tale. It doesn’t really make any sense, and yet here I am, happily typing away as everything below my kneecaps goes numb. If you don’t like it, feel free to say so. I’ve developed a thick skin (literally, it’s all rubbery and translucent due to my Hantavirus) and can take it. Plus everything feels all warm and fuzzy and blurry right now which is awesome.
If you DO like my story, consider gathering your loved ones around the fire tonight and passing it on. Maybe it will become one of your childrens’ most beloved holiday tales, a tradition cherished and requested over and over, so much so that I’ll be forced to self-publish and sell millions of copies so you can read it to them for years to come and I can actually build my aforementioned isolation chamber. In Hawaii.
Truth be told though, I actually need the latter to happen because NyQuil is expensive, and at the rate I’m going, and I could use the cash.