I have been up all night... vomiting.
I address vomit in my manuscript. Two to three chapters are dedicated to my contempt for the stomach bug, and I know I am supposed to save a lot of my material for the book, but oh well. The first publisher I met with asked me who my target audience was. I said, "Moms who hate the stomach bug."
They were not interested in my work. And that's fine. I know it seems like there's not a market for books categorized under vomit-haters. But, I can plead my case from my death bed. We have been exposed.
Lock-down. Code red. Bravo-Alpha-Romeo-Foxtrot... BARF.
My reaction to word of a stomach bug is something you might picture from a war-time movie. A soldier delivers the telegram to the family: Screaming, crying, gnashing of teeth. This is how I behaved when Mother's Day Out called me Monday with word that Sam had thrown up. The poor woman on the other end tried to console me. I think the next time she calls she will make sure that I have someone with me before she delivers the news. There must be a more humane way of telling someone everything they hold dear, every last thread of organization and peace will be flushed down the toilet, or spewed onto clean sheets.
As I lie here now, my life is collapsing outside the bedroom threshold. My dear husband is a wonder. He can bring home the bacon, change diapers, feed humans, you name it, Justin's got it. But it isn't the same.
Men don't see things that women see. The babies keep breaking into my room. They get in trouble, but they keep trying. I hear a teen say, "You can't go back in there! Mom is dying!" I am too sick to get up and thump that teen in the head. Besides, maybe I am dying. Maybe they should be forewarned.
Laundry is piling up. Babies are crying. My head is pounding. Nausea is my companion.
And I blame you.
You know who you are. Average size family. One or two of you threw up all night, but you had places to be, people to see. You limp into the church potluck, looking less than lovely. Your skin is gray, sweaty brow, and your eyes glazed over. You put your festering macaroni salad down on the crisp white table clothed folding table. Your kids bring in plates of warm slice-and-bake cookies - don't pretend, I know you didn't make them. And I ask if you are ok. And you say, "Oh my gosh, my husband and the boys threw up all night! They were so sick! But, the girls were so excited about the potluck, and of course, I had to sing in the choir and teach Sunday school. Hopefully, we will get to rest this afternoon, I am feeling kind of queasy."
My initial instinct is to beat you with Mrs. Holwietz's monkey bread.
If I were a confrontational person, I would punch you in the throat and drag you out by your hair.
But instead -- I bolt.
You heard me. I grab my children, our jackets, to heck with the casserole I made. It's been contaminated. It is probably too late, but I have to try. I have to save my family. I whistle, giving my husband the warning -- this is not a drill. His jaw tenses, he scans the room, ignoring the conversation in which he'd been involved: Code Red.
He doesn't bother to excuse himself, he scurries sideways, eyes darting about the gymnasium. He form tackles a toddler and grabs the diaper bag. Two of the teens recognize the war cry. They stop, drop, and crawl through the crowd on their bellies. They are well trained. The clock is running, the spores of airborne pathogens are looking for a place to breed.
Dear God, not in our mucous membranes, please. As our 12 passenger van screeches out of the church parking lot. I see one of our children chasing after the van. I yell at my husband, "Just go, go, go!" We have other children. Survival of the fittest.
The spores won.
It was too late for us. Day 4 I succumbed. From my death bed, I grapple with my love of the Lord and my negative feelings for you. So I will use the last of my energy to send out this plea.
You should NEVER be out in public and say:
"We've been up all night vomiting."
You may text that. You may email that. You may say it over the phone. Send it by tracking pigeon if you must, but you needn't utter it in person. Stay home. You are not needed that badly. The world will not stop without you. Dare I say, you're not that great. Sunday school can be covered if you aren't there. The Lord saves His people. Your coloring sheet of Zaccheus up a tree can wait until next week.
You've successfully taken down my empire with your terrorist ways.
I will recover. I sip Imodium from a chilled champagne glass. The Phenergan suppository is finally starting to work. I will sleep now. Someday, I will let go of my hate for you and your unlawful contamination of my life. I will move on -- there's the time before the stomach bug, the time after, until the next time. In the meantime I will eventually climb out from under the laundry, I will wait patiently for the carpet steamers to arrive, and I will weep for the days lost.
And I will picture you, clinging to your porcelain God. I pray you see my reflection floating in the bowl with your half-digested Cheerios, encouraging your demise.
Next time, stay home. Stay home.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Jami