The One About Cleaning Up the Trail and Sitting on My Pity Pot

But first, a warning:  If you have a weak stomach or strong gag reflex or if you’re recovering from a tummy bug, you might not want to read this.  Save it for later.  When you feel better.  Okay, so here goes–

Friday night I came home from spending the entire day and evening at my alma mater, Wesleyan College.  I started my day off sharing what it was like for me as a student then and as a Mama now with prospective students and their Mamas.  I love sharing my love of my second home with these families who are mapping out their next steps on the journey.

After lunch my fellow classmates, my Purple Knight sisters, started arriving.  It was an emotional and wonderful day full of, as my oldest who is a sophomore there would say, “all the feels.”

When I pulled in my driveway that night, it was already past my littles’ bedtime, but I let them stay up a little bit longer sharing their stories with me.  Cooter was so happy to see me he did that laugh/cry that comes from being so relieved you just about can’t stand it. Our Princess greeted me with a big hug, a beautiful smile, and a little “Alouette” on the piano.  (It’s her favorite–she plays it.  All.  The. Time.)

After they went to bed and I was sitting on the couch writing, Cooter came back into the living room and plopped down in the recliner.

“I’m just going to sit with you for a few minutes, okay?” It was sweet that he wanted to be close by.  I said okay, and we sat together quietly.

After a few minutes, he told me he wanted to sleep in the chair.  He was almost half asleep as it was, so we got him a pillow and a blanket and he was out in no time.  It being a Friday night, I figured there was no harm in it.

By 1:30 I’d been in my own bed and asleep for over an hour.  I woke to him whispering for me.  “Mama.  Mama.”  He tugged at my sleeve a little.  I was sitting up and getting out of bed before his words registered with me.

“I threw up.”

Oh me.

He told me he’d tried to get down the little hall to what we call the garage bathroom (it’s by the door to the garage).  “But I threw up on the floor a little bit, Mama.  I’m sorry.”

Bless him.

And when I saw what his definition of a “little bit” was, I blessed myself.  I was blessing things under my breath left and right.

Here’s the thing.  I can clean up vomit.  I can.  It’s not my favorite, but my gag reflex is pretty strong.  I can do it, but I don’t enjoy it.  I sighed and grabbed a roll of paper towels and the spray.  And I got to work.

For the next ten minutes (not kidding) I was all but standing on my head.  I was bent over spraying and wiping and tossing paper towels into the trash can.  All. The. Way. Down. The. Hall.  He didn’t miss a spot on his little trail.  If that was a little bit…..

well.  Moving on.

It was when I wasn’t having to come up for air (literally and figuratively) but kept going bent over without my legs aching or my head spinning that I realized all the working out has paid off.  I’m not sure that being able to clean up my child’s upchucked supper is why Justin from my Daily Burn class keeps wanting me to focus on strengthening my core, but it worked.  When I reached the end of the hall, I figured the worst was over.  I made the 90 degree turn into the bathroom and oh my.  More trail.  Leading up to the goal–the toilet bowl.

I kept my head down and kept working.  When I got to the toilet I finally let myself stand up.

It too was NOT pretty.

Suffice to say that child had nothing left in him at all.

Okay, so my goal in sharing this story is not to gross you out.  Thanks for sticking with me this far.

As I was cleaning up the mess and worrying about my little guy and wondering if it was a bug or something he ate and how long it would last,  I was also busy getting comfortable on my pity pot.  I just KNEW I wouldn’t be able to return for my second day of our reunion.  I mean, what kind of Mama leaves her son sick like that and goes and plays with her friends?  I just couldn’t do it.  But my oldest was getting an award at the Alumnae meeting that morning.  What kind of Mama doesn’t show up to cheer her daughter on?  I had no idea how to make this right.

I thought about what all I would be missing, and then I thought of my friend who had not been able to come in on Friday night because her father had an unexpected medical emergency.  I thought about the ones who weren’t able to come because of living too far away or expenses or obligations or insecurities.

And then it hit me how selfish I was being–feeling sorry for myself.  I’d already had a wonderful day with my classmates.  That was more than many would get.  It put it all into perspective.  Life happens, plans change.  The good news was that eventually my little one would get better.  He just wanted his Mama close by while he was doing that whole getting better thing.

I tucked him back into the recliner, giving thanks that his trail had happened on the hard floors and not the carpet in his bedroom.  I fixed myself up a comfy spot on the couch close by, settled in, and we both went back to sleep.

Early the next morning he woke up with a smile on his face and a story to share.  That he still wants to share stories with me at age 8 is precious to me.  I asked him how he was feeling.  He beamed, “Great.”

Hmmm.  Well, that was good.

Then I asked him if he would be okay with me going back up to Wesleyan.  He thought for a brief second and then said, “Yes.”  And he smiled.

I talked with my Fella, and we decided I would go and that I would check in to see how Cooter was doing.  I could come back home at any time.  We planned out what he could feed him and have him drink and what to watch for.  He assured me they would be fine.

And you know what?  They were.

Tonight I’m thankful for the realization that just because something happens doesn’t mean the world is out to get me.  Even though it felt like the Universe was working against me, it wasn’t.

Sometimes little boys get upset stomachs.  And then someone has to clean it up.  This time that someone was me.  That’s just the way it is.

Wishing you all a “trail-free” week, but if one does come along, don’t stress.  It’s not someone or something out to get you.  Life is like that.  According to the words in the Good Book, the sun rises on the evil and the good, and the rain falls on the just and the unjust.*  It’s life.  And it’s okay to cry over it.  Just don’t fall apart thinking the whole world is out to change your plans, to steal your joy.  You might just be surprised.  Often the world can right itself almost as quickly as it fell apart.

There’s another thing Justin says a lot besides the “build your core” stuff.


Yeah.  That.  We’ve got this.  One step (or paper towel) at a time.

Love and best wishes to all.

*Matthew 5:45

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