Tuesday, September 08, 2009

My Hero

( This was written late last night.)

Living with a 20 month old - you just never know what to expect. This evening Aiden, Brad and I were relaxing in the Family room after an enjoyable Labor Day, watching a DVD. I had just set Aiden in Brad's lap and the next moment we were experiencing the vomit fountain.

Everyone was stunned for a moment. No one said anything. We just watched as the contents of Aiden's stomach poured forth over his clothes and onto Brad's clothes and the couch. I was amazed at how much stuff there was, and it just seemed to keep coming and coming! Clotty, stinky, chunky, slimy - kind of like a visible food diary - a record of what he had eaten today. There was a lot of cantalope. And partially digested milk. And other things. I ran off to try to find some suitable ratty towels to help contain the horror but could only come up with a measly hand towel. That didn't really do much good. ( What does it say about me that I couldn't bring myself to use one of the " good towels"?) I really wanted to take a picture of the two of them. ( What does it say about me that in the midst of this carnage, the thought came into my head to take a picture? " Oh, and remember the first time that Aiden threw up...? Good times, good times." ) It was really an unbelievable sight. But it seemed wise to continue in the cleanup mode with all possible speed so the photograph was never taken. ( I did find out later that Brad took a picture of himself before changing his clothes as I was attending to Aiden in the other room. This proves the saying: Great minds think alike. )

We transferred ourselves to the bathroom - the bathtub to be more precise- where Aiden was stripped and cleaned, and refused to be consoled. Poor thing, it was a pretty traumatic incident - his first real bout of vomiting. It took him a while to realize it wasn't the end of the world.

Clothes were strewn about from certain members of the family trying to rid themselves of nastiness or prevent their clothes from becoming more soiled. So here we had three individuals, in partial or complete stages of disrobe, running around the house, cleaning up the couch- that was Brad- cleaning up Aiden and the bathroom- that was me- and trying to figure out what was going on and why he was naked but wasn't actually taking a conventional bath- that was Aiden- and cleaning up the random deposits of guck on the Vomit Trail all through the upstairs - that was both Brad and myself. It was a surreal experience. And the whole time, Brad was practically in hysterics because he thought the whole thing was so funny. Which did help to lighten the mood. Heroic fortitude in the face of utter yuckiness. Gotta hand it to you, Brad- you are my hero. Another reason I love my husband: the man laughs at vomit. I hope in the years to come, throwing up will always be an event of such hilarity. Eventually everyone got cleaned up and re-dressed, and now almost everyone is asleep.

I saved the laundering of the clothes until the men folk were abed. As I cleaned the "chunky bits" - as Andrew would have said- off their clothing, I thought of the fortuitous timing of the whole thing. The appearance of the Vomit Comet took place mere moments after I put Aiden in Brad's lap. Almost as if my guardian angel were orchestrating the whole thing. I don't know where Brad's guardian angel was, but MINE was certainly on the job.

Today, Aiden was wearing a shirt that I bought for him at a yard sale. It says, "My Dad is The Man." How apt. If it wasn't one of my favorite shirts, I would not even try to salvage it from the ravages of vomit. But I love it, and therefore it is in the process of restoration. Yes, Aiden, your Dad IS The Man. From serenely facing down the possibility of a dead grandfather in his basement in the morning, to calmly comforting his vomit saturated son in the evening...and accepting it all with a smile - laughter, even!- there is very little, if anything, that can faze this man. It's all in a day's work for him. What am I saying- this was his day OFF! Tomorrow he goes back to working with nitwits and criminals!

Monday, September 07, 2009

False Alarm

Living with an 86 year old - you just never know what to expect. Like today. Usually Grampa comes up and joins us in the kitchen for breakfast around 8:15 or 8:30. Today he was an hour late. Well, I heard a movie going so at first I wasn't too concerned. I figured he just lost track of time. But then the movie stopped and he still didn't come up. It was silent downstairs for quite a while. I was convinced that he had died while watching the movie. I was already mentally planning our trip to California for the funeral. I was SO grateful Brad had the day off today so I could send him down to check to see if Grampa was still among the land of the living. When I told Brad that I thought maybe Grampa had died, he said calmly , " Well, today would be a good day for it." ( as in, Brad has the day off and we have a fairly flexible schedule today so we could easily deal with the county coroner's arrival etc.) But I just LOVE that about Brad, that he says things like that. He even asked Aiden if he wanted to go to California, right before he headed downstairs. I thought, "Is this really how it's going to be? Am I ready for this?" But Grampa's alive and kicking. Well, alive anyway. Phew. I wasn't too keen on meeting the coroner today, to tell you the truth. Brad reported seeing a big container of trailmix sitting next to him on the couch, so perhaps that was why he didn't feel the need for cereal. Trailmix for breakfast? Whatever floats your boat, Grampa. But he did come up a little later and eat some fruit I'd cut up for him.

There's a little bit of this every morning - wondering if he will come up for breakfast or if he's sitting down to a heavenly breakfast instead. He's in fairly good health but with his history of strokes etc, you just never know. Being confronted on a daily basis with the very real possibility that each day might be the last we spend with him helps my perspective and renews my supply of grace. When the day comes when he doesn't come up for breakfast, I don't want to look back and regret my attitude. That doesn't mean I'm never irritated or impatient, but it helps to bring me back to seeing the big picture and to think about the fact that Grampa is someone else's little boy. Of course, I never met Grampa's mother, but we have some things in common. For one, she cut up his fruit at the beginning of his life, and I'm cutting up his fruit now.