Is she up to date on her immunizations? - Uh, ish,- I havered.
The doctor was considerate, attentive, and her hair was so neatly braided back from her pretty face. We were talking about Eva even though the appointment was for Oz. We'll try the allergy medicine for a week and see if she stops coughing (coughing, coughing, pause, coughing, coughing). (Coughing.)
I was trying to ask questions to make sure I understood everything, or at least to help me remember it since I didn't have a hand free to write it down. Eva was making MRSA-dust-angels on the floor and Oz, in the vicinity of my lap, was faunching to go taste some bit of medical equipment, arching his back and shrieking. Of course he was spunky and fine, although earlier he'd been a howling writhing thing of misery, sprouting angry hives from face to foot sole. I could feel patches of my neck and face turning crimson in that special way that makes doctors either test me for lupus or offer me Xanax, and this time it was happening because I was wrestling my baby Hercules and it was hot and - Eva, please get up!-. I worried the doctor could smell my unshowered, organically deodoranted self from across the office.
The Zyrtec might make her moody, said the doctor ( - Please God no! - I panicked, thinking of straws and camel's backs and her little heart that is already so big it can't contain her emotions) and if so it's not the drug for her; we will try another one.
And Eva was wearing her Disneyest commercialiest Cinderella jelly shoes, with heels no less, bought in a panic the morning of Halloween. If I'd seen me four years ago I would have judged me so hard. Last night, in the dark with the crowds and the lights and the candy, she was a sparkly store-bought cobbled-together Cinderella marching through a hand-crafted Pinterest world. And she was beautiful. She designed most of her outfit herself from what we already owned.
In line for our shiny new drugs, my princess met two other princesses and they princessed around the kids' table in the waiting room. They were so sweet to each other and I didn't have to interfere once. Then we stopped at the Shoppette for ice cream because Oz hasn't eaten in days, and there was princess drama like you wouldn't believe. I drove home with one Cheez-it muncher and one car banshee, and pulled one camel's-back-straw too far into the spot we share with the motorcycle. It rocked gently on its stand but obligingly settled back upright.
Then we were inside, and within moments Oz was slamming the cupboard door repeatedly onto the sticking-out edges of dishes I can't get to fit, and Eva had her dad's motorcycle helmet stuck halfway on her head. And during his third nap of the day she got lots of movies.
At dinner, He's feeling better! I texted to a friend. Then he happily vomited and carried on with his baby business.
And there was one moment before bed where I was trying to pin his arms down to get some Benadryl in him, because the hives creep up when he's sleeping, and my girl walked up to me out of nowhere and slowly, softly kissed me on the cheek. - Why? - Because I love you, mommy.
Later, Benadrylled Oliver stomped unsteadily around the living room like a chubby geriatric drunkard. Then he'd lose his grip on uprightness and shoot me that helpless look from his dark brown sugar eyes as he fell, and I would catch him, usually.
After the kids were solidly in bed, I was carrying a heavy basket of laundry down the spiral stairs and it somehow swung out into empty space and took me with it, til I remembered I could just drop the laundry and save myself. Too late for the bruised sole of one foot and swelling marthritic knees, but overall could have been much worse. Took a whole 6 months to have a true near-death experience on those things, which is better than I expected.
Tonight while slightly reducing the pile of dishes I heard on a podcast about a goddess who loved a mortal, and something about Zeus and Hera's jealousy and a death and resurrection-reunion as kingfishers, the birds of legendary loyalty in pairing (who knew?). And there's a time when the goddess-mortal-kingfisher-pair flies over the sea to calm it so they can nest there, and those days when the water is tame glass are the halcyon days. (This was a language, not an ornithological podcast, mind you.) That's where we get the term.
Halcyon days. It feels like it has something to do with me, but right at this moment I can't tell just what. I hear this story and then I trip on another laundry basket. These are the hard years. You'll miss them. They won't last forever, they tell me. And some moments that's a threat and some moments more of a promise, and I guess it's really a bit of both.