Sure it was another perfect day. It would have been better if I was in Jennifer Aniston’s life today. I bet she got a pedicure and spray-on tan. I bet her toenails are a new color that the market has never seen. Maybe she had someone mix it this morning to fit her mood or aura color. She might be contemplating which account to pay for her her next trip to her special hidden island next to the Buddhist temple, where she will detoxify for a couple weeks before taking on that very difficult movie project. She might not sleep for weeks or even months, oy! Okay, so that’s not fair. I don’t really know what she did today. And I hate to be that person who thinks movie stars have it all. I know they don’t.
I know they have dark moments in between media appearances where they feel insecure and scared. And then there’s other moments where they feel destiny is theirs and they’re just damn lucky and, well, more evolved than the “others.”
Yeah, that was my day too—the part where I felt lucky, of course. Call me crazy. I felt lucky when I arrived at work this morning to find my 2 and 3 year olds at preschool (in the class I aide for) were in rare form. There was screaming today and hitting and one little girl who is barely three actually made the effort to talk whenever the teacher talked but ONLY when she was talking. Really? I mean, it doesn’t rattle me because I’ve seen way worse, but I am still surprised when a small child can pull out such an oppositional position.
Then I felt lucky on the way home from the grocery store, after work, that I had fresh vegetables and on double savings day. I was kinda floating effortlessly, as I mentioned above. Then probably as Jennifer Aniston’s spray tanner made a mistake and sprayed her ass cheeks twice… (Now she can’t wear the Brazilian bikini on her upcoming trip, damn it all.) That was the moment my 5 year old yelled from the back of my 3 row seated vehicle, “Mom, my tummy hurts.”
Me: “I’m sorry, sweetie. Did you eat something…”
From the back seat: “BLWEACCHFFH” brief pause for effect and replay please.
In case you’re lost, that was two large vomitous spurts of bile and food flying across the back seat of my car. And as much as I hate it, it did run through my mind at that moment just how awful the clean-up would be. But I didn’t sweat it. My son was the one who had to sit in vomit for the rest of the ride home. I stopped at the light and looked in the rearview mirror. “You okay, honey?”
“Mom, I got throw-up all over the car.”
“I know, sweetie, but it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you’re ok. We will be home in a few moments, and we’ll clean you up.”
Well, there’s a lot of story between here and Jennifer Aniston’s toenail appointment which had already started. But we got home at 1:45. I had to leave at 2:00 to pick up my son and our carpool Barbie. I’ve decided right now to call her carpool Barbie because it makes me laugh. So I have 15 minutes to clear out the car, put away the groceries, shower my child, brush his teeth, of course, get him dressed and back into the car to drive the vomit-mobile through the pick-up lane at school. This will rock. Do I have time to put in rollers and buy a pack of cigarettes to smoke? For posterity, my oldest son should remember this day as strongly as I.
Did I get my short list done? Well, I was on a roll. My 5 year old steps from the shower, I brush his teeth, comb his hair, bribe him to finish quickly. I run to the car, squish the vomit from the grocery bag handles near his seat. That rocked. I think my wedding ring still had a chunk of something squeezed into the setting that might be a former goldfish cracker. I will wear it with pride. I grab 15 bags on my skinny arms and run inside to hear…
“Mom, I just threw up on the carpet.” I paused, remember what was most important… is he ok? But yeah, he’s ok. He’s showered and pampered. OK. See if he’s ok. ASK him if he’s ok.
“OK. Where did you throw up, honey?”
“All over the family room.”
And I tried to stop the words from coming out, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t swallow them up. I vomited too. And I regretted it even as it was falling out of my lips. “Why did you throw up on the carpet, honey? Why didn’t you throw up on the tile?” (We only have 2,000 square feet of tile right next to the damn family room. Really, me? You are worried about the carpet? And yes, yes I was!!! I had three minutes to finish putting the groceries inside, change my son’s clothes again, get a vomit bowl for the car, make sure we have shoes in case the car dies, today would be the perfect day for that, and get to school before my son is not picked up on time, and I have to pay the $40 monthly fee for childcare.
“But, mom, I threw up again.”
“I know, honey. I’m sorry. It doesn’t matter. We’ll figure it out. If you feel like throwing up again, please vomit on the tile looking stuff and here’s a bowl if you need to throw up in the car. I tried to clean the throw up from your seat, but I won’t have time to finish. So please sit in the seat next to it with your bowl IN your lap. You okay, honey?” (Yay, I finally asked!)
“But I don’t want to sit in this seat.”
“Listen, I can’t have this conversation right now. It’s clean, and the whole car stinks, so there’s no great seat in the house. But please just get in the car, and I promise I will have you home as soon as possible to rest and get better, baby. Please, please, please just get in the car.”
He sensed my panic. He got in the smelly car with his vomit dish and shoes not on—but near his feet. We drove to the school. We stunk all through the line, and we proudly took our stinky car to drop off carpool Barbie.
We came into the house after school, to the afternoon routine we like to think of as a competition for any freak show around. What happened next? Well, a text to my husband saying, “I am so in the weeds. Cleaning up throw up. Wish you were here.” It made me laugh, even if he didn’t think it was funny. I wished he was there to clean up the mess instead of me. Life just isn’t fair. My husband’s at work and Jen is now drinking a seaweed shake which will make her skin glow and tighten, giving her three years back as if the hour of yoga she just endured with Yang Shang Namaste, greatest yogi in Hollyworld wasn’t life-giving enough. And me, I’m avoiding cleaning up vomit… my house smells like vomit and is halfway dry. My car smells like vomit, and it will never be the same. I’ll never be the same. Who am I kidding? I haven’t been the same for years. Well, at least not the same as I imagined. It was truly another perfect day. And gotta be honest. It didn’t feel like the worst day ever, not even close. It was crazy, and if I had watched it on tv, I would have felt sorry for me, cause it would have looked awful. But I didn’t feel sorry for me. I picked up my stinky ass towels and soapy water. I started my journey through vomit and homework and dinner and waiting for my husband to come home (he did help me like a saint). Man, I miss him on days like this. I want someone to be there so I know it’s actually real. You can’t write this stuff! (clever line, don’t you think?)
The good news is that my son would be fine. The good news is that the house and car will be fine too. The reality is that it is kinda funny, absolutely ridiculous and no mom out there hasn’t had 100 of these days. But I really wouldn’t trade them for a different life. And I do not lie. I truly wouldn’t trade them for another life. It’s just the life I want, perfectly imperfect, and there’s cocktails for rest, right?.
To another perfect day, in ways I never imagined I’d measure perfection by. Jen Aniston, I’d still love to hear someone threw up in your car today too. Love, mac-n-cheesemartinis.com