It’s not just a metaphor.
I’m not sure I can write about the past few days in a linear way. I feel like I can only touch on it obliquely, from the sides. Like:
Yesterday was the first day in three that I didn’t walk around with vomit on my clothes, unable to find the moment to change.
(Henry’s vomit. No time, because the three days were a blur of after hours pediatric clinic, breathing treatments, bronchiolitis, cranky clinging baby clinging and cranking to an extreme previously unimaginable, vomit, steroids, vomit, Albuterol, more doctor, breathing checks, counting breathing, frantic Googling, freezing cold outside temperatures, no way to run, DAMMIT, then driving home from the pediatrician on Tuesday morning, we stopped to pick up his prescriptions at the drugstore, dropped off Anna at preschool, drove the half mile toward home, stopped to make a left onto my street like I’ve done a million times before, sitting there with my blinker on, waiting for a pause in oncoming traffic, and then I look into my rear view mirror and see a car. Barreling. Is he going to stop? I wonder. He’s. not. stopping.
Henry is okay. I am okay. I have some whiplash. We did go in an ambulance to the hospital to get him checked out. Today he seems past the worst point of the bronchiolitis/breathing issues. Our car is totaled, towed away, we have a rental, we’re all still kind of a mess though. .
Did I mention the driver had no license and was all at the scene lying like I had no blinker on and I stopped shorting and I’m running into my house with my baby and all I can do is put on his favorite Elmo movie, the one we put on for him when we have to give him the nebulizer and he’s running around pointing “LMO LMO” he says ELMO now because he’s so obsessed with this movie, he’s waving to the EMTs and the volunteer firemen and showing them Elmo, my son who seems delightfully normal at this moment. When I tell you that I ran on adrenaline for the rest of the day, well, that’s an understatement. I didn’t even feel my body until 6 p.m. I hadn’t had a bite of food or more than a single cup of coffee all day and I wasn’t even tired despite sleeping no more than four hours in two nights.
So now for the immediate future, I see terror. I’m terrified driving with the kids now. I’m terrified every car behind me is coming for me. I’m terrified I won’t be able to get back to running and fitness soon, my lifeline, my sanity. I’m terrified of his breathing. I’m terrified I will never get a break from this relentless stress.
I feel like my life right now is that moment when Tom Hanks holds up the volleyball and thrusts it at the sky, like COME AT ME BRO (Bro being The Universe) like what else ya got for me? I can take it. I can take it.
My husband told me last night that I was so strong. You’re so strong, you’re so brave, you’re doing such a good job.
I don’t want to be brave. I said. I want to be happy.