I stepped away from the computer for a couple days in an attempt to catch up a little bit. On everything. Housework. Rest. Recuperation. I would love to tell you that I've made great strides. Unfortunately, Nathan and I spent our weekend as sinus crusaders fighting off pressure and nasal sludge, with Jason throwing a headache into the mix every so often to keep things fresh. Today, I'm within the realm of normal. Nate is still coughing well into the night and fighting congestion during the day. Jason is a trooper. Audrey is ready for world domination.
Even after some catch-up work, the piles still abound. The work feels significant. But so is the gratitude - for a husband who took on dish duty this weekend in an attempt to keep our sink visible, and who last night found his way home to a chaotic kitchen and restless children and instantly fell into the role of fort-builder-wrestler-baby-jungle-gym, in spite of the Monday headache branded to his forehead; for a surprise visit from Mamaw and the opportunity to grocery shop solo; for the little boy smiling in spite of his runny nose; and the little girl who reminds us there is fun to be had regardless of piles or sickness or time constraints. And for these - the moments of last week:
On Sunday, Jason made fish on the grill. As we sat eating, Audrey said, " I don't think that fish wanted to be eaten. I don't think that fish wanted to be grilled."
On Monday, we decided to splurge and order some burgers for take-out at a nice place (a chain where Jason used to work). After he had eaten most of his, Jason said, "Well, those aren't as good as I remember them."
"They aren't as good as cookies. They aren't as good as chocolate chips, either," Audrey agreed.
Tuesday, as I stood doing dishes at the sink, Audrey began to squeal. I ran over to find Nathan standing in the kitchen window, having gripped the windowsill to pull himself up. Nathan, thrilled with Audrey's response, began to laugh.
"I knew you could do it!" she said. "Good job! You're like a big sister!"
Tuesday evening, Jason had to catch a plane. He said goodbye and told Audrey he was leaving for the airport. "You know what, mom?" she asked after he had gone. "Ashley lives at the airport." (Ashley, my sister, really lives in California).
Thursday morning, I carried Nate into Audrey's room to wake her up. Nathan had been upset, so I was playing classical music on my ipod. We've discovered that playing music written by a composer friend of ours sometimes calms him down. Audrey heard the music and began to rustle around in her sheets, slowly opening her eyes.
"I don't think I have to sleep anymore. I think it's wake up time. Is it wake up time? That didn't take too long," she said as she looked down at the blanket wrapped around her. "I'm all waddled up!"
Audrey is still struggling with her fear of getting stuck inside of places, even her clothes. Lately, she prefers to run around the house wearing as little as she can manage. Thursday afternoon, she was wearing only her underwear. Knowing she wouldn't be allowed in the backyard without clothes on, she ran to the closet and put on a hat and pair of gloves so she could "pretend to be outside."
Friday, I overheard her say, "You make the best family, Nate."
Audrey has inherited her father's theatrical flair. Every story we read or movie we see must be reenacted. Numerous times. Last week, her story of choice was The Little Mermaid. Jason and I spent several hours being assigned various parts to play. Saturday, she was attempting to settle on a part for Nate.
"Nate can be the butt," she said.
"He can be the what?"
I thought for a minute. "The butler?"
"Yes. He can be the butler. So the butt man..."
(He was finally cast as Sebastian.)
I would love to tell you that by the end of today my house will be in order, late birthday cards finally written and sent, and the velcro on Audrey's backpack reattached. But you and I know better. After some weekend hours surrendered to the couch trying to calm my head and sinuses, I have some catching up to do. At the playground.