Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back to Basics

T.S. Eliot said "April is the cruelest month." I'm beginning to agree with him. I think May used to be the most hectic because it was the end of the school year and therefore the end of all the programs that run along with the school year. It was the month of dance recitals, band concerts, and year-end parties for every club known to man. It was also the start of baseball (little league games anyway) and spring weather begging the kids to be outside after school and after dinner because it's lighter out longer so who wants to do homework - and between all those activities (spread across two adults and three kids) there was very little time to breathe in May. So people got wise and moved some of it to April - but then more people got wise and pretty soon ALL the year end competitions and club parties and concerts, etc. were backed up a month. In other words, April is the new May. And there's still no time to breathe.

Every weekend our oldest daughter has been competing in some type of academic event - first Science Olympiad, then the History Fair - the regionals were at IIT in the city a week ago Saturday and once again she advanced to state. We're really proud of her and she's so excited they get to go to Springfield on a school day in May (her father promptly signed up to be a chaperone) Caitlin + Springfield + History + Luxury Tour Bus = uber excited Dan.

Finally a Saturday rolled around with no competitions for Cait (only a baseball practice for Ryan) and so I was all set to head down to Atlanta for my aunt's 90th birthday celebration weekend leaving Dan to mind the homestead. I was looking forward to seeing her and some cousins I haven't seen in awhile (it's a BIG family). I was a little nervous because it occured to me that I hadn't flown post 9/11. The last plane I was on was from San Francisco to O'Hare in September of 1990 after our ten year anniversary. I felt like I should bring a sign with to security - "Warning: Do not follow." I would have been the equivalent of a Sunday driver, causing delays with my excessive creams, lotions and nail clippers.

Turns out no sign was needed. My back went out on Thursday afternoon and that was all she wrote. There was no plane ride on Friday morning, no folding chair on Friday night, no picnic bench on Saturday afternoon and no 12 hour car ride home in my parents' Civic on Sunday. Instead, there was five days of laying flat on my back at home. And you know what? It was kind of wonderful.

When was the last time you had five unscheduled days of laying around with nothing but books, a T.V. and a cordless phone to entertain you? I read Andre Agassi's autobiography in two days. I read a LOT of stuff. I watched a movie or two, but for the most part I left the T.V. off. I prayed a lot. I looked up words in the Bible in the original Greek (although that concordance was really heavy so I only did that a few times). I asked my kids all about their days and listened to every word they said with undivided attention. And I slept. A lot.

It's getting a lot better now - so much so that I can sit at a computer for an hour or two at a time and type without wincing. I'm easing in slowly - dishes but no laundry -stairs but no treadmill - driving but no go carts (aka any vehicle lower than a minivan). Basically bending is still out. So I tackle small projects and then lay back down again. So instead of going on vacation I stayed home on sick time and...well...got a vacation.

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