Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wake Up Call

I don't get sick. Not really. Not with fevers and swollen glands and stomach upsets. Daily, I take the temperatures of glassy-eyed preschoolers and call their parents to come pick them up. Weekly, I slip my arms beneath someone's armpits and hustle them to the bathroom, hoping to make it at least to the linoleum before their heaving stomachs erupt. I watch for green runny noses and listen for croupy coughs. It's not really in my job description, but I'm a mother and I work in a school with kids aged 3-9 and I see them every day.

I am not afraid of germs and don't squirt Purell into my hands nearly as often as most of my co-workers. I don't disinfect my phone or keyboard daily or even weekly. I wash my hands after going to the bathroom, before eating lunch and after wiping some kids boogery nose, but I don't have the cracked, dry skin of an obsessive clean-freak. And I don't get most of what the kids share with me every day.

I might get a dry patch in my throat from time to time. I get headaches from working on the keyboard too long, but I don't spend my winters sniffling and sneezing.

So when I went to bed Tuesday night with a scratchy throat and a tingling in my left ear I was surprised, but I figured it was time. I was due for a little cold, I suppose.

It wasn't until Deb checked in on me to say I'd been absent from my blog and hers for too long that I began to wonder.

It wasn't until I stepped on a small shard of broken glass in my own kitchen and walked around with it embedded in the bottom of my heel without noticing anything beyond a small, pesky niggling that I began to really wonder.

Two days ago I broke a mixing bowl in my sink. It was part of a set that I bought at Target when I got my very first apartment nearly 20 years ago. Three glass mixing bowls of graduated sizes, cheap and functional. By now, they're scratched up and well-worn, but perfectly usable. I set the largest one down in the sink to rinse it out and it shattered. I was surprised but not upset. I quietly cleaned it up, reaching my fingers gingerly down into the garbage disposal to get all of the pieces.

Yesterday morning I broke a glass coffee cup I've had for fifteen years as I set it on the counter to make Eve a cup of tea. It shattered into pieces just from the small impact of being set on the counter. Two in two days? And now a cold?

While I was walking around with the piece of glass in my heel I was packing Lola's lunch and making Eve some hot chocolate. I was quizzing Lola on her spelling words and planning my day of errands. When I stopped to take a breath before moving on to the next task, I realized every step I took was pushing the irritant farther into my foot. Despite that, it wasn't until the girls were safely in their carpool and the dog and cats were fed that I sat down to remove the piece of glass.

I'm thinking I need to start paying a little more attention to me. I've pushed the snooze button a few too many times and the alarm clock is getting annoyed.


Carrie Wilson Link said...

I concur!


Scott from Oregon said...

I suppose that's why we should all take care of Mums when they get old...

Deb Shucka said...

So glad to have you back! Wow, those messages are loud and clear. Lots of shattered glass - someone is tired of being ignored!

ammogirl said...

Seriously--it is time to take a break. I know the person you are, and that you can't just...not do for someone, but if you don't take care of yourself then there will be nobody to take care of everyone else. You first, sweets. It makes it better for them.

megan said...

K- Reoccurring theme? "first things I cut out are the things that make me most human and happiest about who I am" per You : ) ...hint hint. The kids/man won't mind if you take care of you. In fact they will find you a better You on the other side. Trust me. To A: YOU TOO!

Michelle O'Neil said...

Holy crap. Glass in your foot? I'm too big a baby to ever ignore something like that.

Slow down girl!


Jerri said...

Big signs here. Listen to them, Kari. Take some time and space for yourself before something bigger than a bowl or coffee cup breaks.

Love to you.

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