The Holiest Thing

It’s 11pm on a Monday and I’m hanging with my five year old, watching Lego: Friends on Netflix.

Strep has struck again. A dose of antibiotics and a two-hour afternoon nap produced a seemingly endless supply of energy in a little girl who is unable to fall asleep. After she was tucked in and re-tucked in five times, read an extra story, went potty…twice, and had a tummy that “was wondering if it could have some yogurt because it was still hungry,” I gave up the bedtime battle and we are having ourselves a little Monday night party.

In the past two months, we’ve had six cases of strep between the two of us. Doctors appointments, prescriptions, phone calls to nurses, texts to doctor friends, replacing toothbrushes, bleaching sheets, disinfecting doorknobs and countertops and light switches, and last-minute schedule shuffling have recently become a regular part of life at Casa del Clark.

It always starts in the morning when A wakes me up with, “Mom, it hurts really bad when I swallow again,” and I go into strep shuffle mode.

Step 1. Call doctor at 8:02 am. Ask for the earliest available appointment.
Step 2. Check child’s temp to report to doc later, and give child dose of ibuprofen.
Step 3. Begin the schedule shuffle, canceling all non-urgent meetings and appointments.
Step 4. Send SOS texts to all available friends to help with child-care.
Step 5. Take child to doctor, confirm suspicion and keep child quarantined for 24 hours.

Rinse and repeat every 2-3 weeks as necessary.

I like to plan my work and work my plan. When things like a sick kiddo interrupt my expectation of how my day or week is going to go, my tendency is to scramble, trying to muscle my way through it all, shuffling the little girl to and fro, if necessary.

There is that meeting. Or appointment. There is the project. The deadline. The to-do list. And it all needs me, needs attention, or needs to get done.

It’s true, there are meetings and deadlines and projects and responsibilities. There are things that must get done and they are important. They bring great things to life. They create change and momentum and progress. Work and meetings and deadlines make the world go round. But the frequency and force of the two-month sickness strike has made me rethink my approach to these curve balls.

In a world of striving and achieving and constant climbing of one ladder or another, I’ve realized that for me, sometimes the holiest thing I can do is to stop trying and striving and willing my way, and instead, surrender to the unexpected or the unplanned or the interruption.

Cuddling up on the couch with a book and a cup of tea for a whole day. Sleeping in. Taking a different route. Leaving room in the day for the “by the way, do you have a minute” conversations. Hanging with a five year old at 11pm on a Monday watching Lego: Friends on Netflix.

Rhythms and routines are good. I thrive on them. But I’m finding there is adventure to be had and life to be lived in the interruption. The slowing down for a minute can be crucial. And sometimes, the very best memories are made in the most unexpected moments.


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