Monday, July 19, 2010

Sick Daze

I felt it brewing yesterday but tried to ignore it. Today, there is no denying it. A good ol’ fashioned summer fever and sinus infection have reacquainted me with despair and fatigue. Oh, if only I could embrace them.

For now, I’ll just let the room spin and my head throb to its own delirious beat. Until… Siraj cries himself awake, needing a clean diaper, and hungry for food. I ignore the pulsating sunlight and hold onto him while I stabilize myself against the side of his crib. Sometimes, if I am quiet and don’t turn on too many lights while I tend to him - he will promptly fall back to sleep. However, this soon became not one of those quiet dawns when Ismaeel cheerfully bellowed his own good mornings and urgent requests for apple juice and a cereal bar. Still in potty training reinforcement mode, I take Ismaeel to the bathroom while also holding Siraj. I am using all of my available energy to not fall down. Maybe I can use one of my lazy-no-good-mother cards and turn on the TV for them while I sneak back to bed. But this is Monday. There is no such thing as mercy.

I soon start packing and ironing all of our requisite items but the thought of coordinating pants and trouser socks for myself nearly put me over the edge. If nothing else, today is a flip-flop day. I email a note about my absence from work and finish packing the boys along their merry way. My husband touches my forehead confirming my (starting to slightly taper off) fever while Siraj and Ismaeel look bewildered that such a state prevents me from going with them. I wave my (still dizzy) goodbyes as they get into the elevator and bask in the quiet until I open my eyes and see the horror that used to be our home.

More cereal bar crumbs than usual have found their way into the fibers of our living room carpet. Apple juice and fingerprints have made an eerie and opaque fog on our glass coffee table. There are toys (that I didn’t even know the boys had) spilled throughout the floor. The kitchen counter is overflowing with pantry items that we bought over the weekend but didn’t yet put away. And most frightening of all, is the backlog of laundry (in desperate need of pre-treating) that might just swallow me alive.

I desperately wanted to sleep but knew the mess around me would only find a way to multiple during my slumber. And so, I started the laundry, scooped up the toys, sprinkled the carpets with deodorizer, wiped the table clean, and tackled the kitchen cupboards. In order to make space I needed to get rid of the older items in the back of the cabinets. I found myself throwing out more than a couple of boxes of expired brownie and cake mixes. Feeling like an inadequate and failed baker, I soon found myself trying to compensate by making a quick batch of orange halal jello for Ismaeel.

Somewhere throughout the day, the house got cleaned, I got showered, some schoolwork was finished, the boys were picked up from daycare, and I head out to my last class of the summer semester. My eyes are still bleary, it is nearly impossible to speak without coughing, and my whole body aches. What really bothers me most is wondering just when exactly is a good time to start taking care of myself.

For now, the answer seems to remain - not quite yet.

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