Sunday, December 16, 2007
In southeast Michigan, the media call days like today "chaos." In Maine, where I grew up, they call it another Sunday.
We awoke today to about 6-7 inches of snow. In many parts of Michigan, that's no big deal. Here, we get one of these doozies about once or twice a year and everyone goes kookoo. I turned on the TV news this morning and saw a reporter run after a woman at a gas station, stick a microphone in her face and demand, "Where is your hat?"
It's a fair question, I guess, because it's hard not to get a bit giddy on days like today. After all these years, big snows still feel like an event -- a communal pause from the humdrum and invitation to do something different. The roads are impassable, schools are closed, so why not build snow tunnels that are one good gust away from suffocating you, be on the wrong end of whitewashes in junior high or kill the day drinking skunk brew in college?
So I skipped out of bed today, excited by the possibilities. I looked out the window, contemplated the still of the morning and thought, "Oh yeah, we're not doing anything. We're staying inside again."
It's not even officially winter, and cabin fever is setting in. As detailed earlier, Hope's tracheomalacia makes it imperative she avoid catching colds, so we're hermits until spring. We may need some hobbies -- and fast. We skipped another holiday get-together this weekend and had to shoo Mo's sister, Molly, away because she has a sore throat. That left the following as the highlights of the weekend: (1) Goo gooing with Hope (2) Eating a meatball sub and (3) Scoring two consecutive Bingos at Scrabble ("Genitals" and "Paginate.")
It might be easier if Hope had an outstanding weekend, but she didn't. She's had a tickle in her throat the past few days. Her breathing has sounded terrible. The Prevacid has yet to kick in and the reflux through her nose has come in torrents. Falling asleep seems difficult. Often, she'll doze for about 10 minutes, then awake screaming.
Hopefully, she'll kick whatever it is soon. She's had a better evening than afternoon; she's getting her extra-strength, cold aversion Synagis shot tomorrow and her name, after all, is Hope.
But it's still cause for anxiety. And tough lessons. I learned this one the other day: No matter the hour, the duration of your daughter's tears, how many times you've wondered whether you should call the pediatrician or how logical the sentiment can seem, never -- never, ever, never -- say something dumb like, "Y'know, sometimes, I don't like this very much." It seemed like an honest assessment. I was worried sick and had heard other guys say far worse (a friend described the first 2 months with a newborn as "100 times the work of a puppy and half the rewards.")
Mo didn't want to hear it. And why should she? Whatever anxieties I have, she bears fifty fold. She's taking a six-month leave of absence from work, so this is her life 24-7. I'm a few weeks into hunkering down and already jawjacking. She's an old pro, having been ordered on bed rest at the beginning of October. That's three months of nothing. Such solitude may suit Thoreau, but it's driving Mo bonkers. She has a few house guests, 1-2 a week, but we try regulate them to keep germs at bay. It's a week before Christmas and the only shopping we've done is online.
"It's all so isolating," Mo said. "I get depressed sometimes. But Hope is worth it. I'm sooo happy she's home, so what's the alternative?"
We both know it. When Hope was born, we set Christmas as a goal for taking her to the hospital. We beat it by a month. We're not keen on returning, so we need to hunker down, figure this out and maybe take up macrame or decoupage.