This is an entry in ChicagoNow’s monthly “blogapalooza” hour where we are challenged with a blog topic and given an hour to write about it. Here is the topic:
Write about your tomorrow. Not figuratively — literally write about anything that you hope, fear, believe, expect, anything, that you may experience tomorrow.
I have a babysitter tomorrow. Five hours of another adult in my home whose sole focus is to care for Mary Tyler Toddler so that I can “get stuff done.” This concept of a sitter came to me early last fall when the then Mary Tyler Baby was on the cusp of his first birthday. Our boy was growing up, crawling, inches away from his first steps, first words, his first of manys.
Just as it was time for him to take a few steps, it was time for me to do the same.
I put the call out to my network and there was Darlene — beautiful and kind and sincere and loving Darlene. The first time I met her she was familiar to me. We were both Cancer Moms. We were both grieving moms. We were both adoptive moms. Click, click, click.
The original plan was that Darlene would come once or twice a week, giving me the opportunity to KNUCKLE DOWN AND WRITE. I had just accepted my first ongoing freelance writing gig and the idea of paying someone a few hours a week so I could carve out some time to focus on the most unexpected life twist of me becoming a paid (shut the front door) writer was like a dream.
And then, of course, life happened. My Dad got sick a few weeks after Darlene started sitting for us. Making time to write got put on the farthest of the back burners. I started relying on Darlene to be here just so I could visit with my Dad in the hospital where toddlers or children were not allowed.
One day turned into two days turned into three days pretty quickly. There is not a chance in hell I could have been there for my Dad the way he needed me had Darlene not been there for us. I thank my lucky stars for her presence in our family’s life. She will forever be intertwined with what I now refer to as “the winter of our discontent.” All apologies, Steinbeck and Shakespeare.
Long story short, I am grateful to Darlene for so quickly becoming so essential to us.
Tomorrow morning at 9 am, or, more likely 8:55 because she is always so prompt, the door will buzz and Mary Tyler Baby will pop off my lap or off the sofa or off my bed where we were playing and bop to the front door like a sandpiper at the beach, calling out her name in pure joy.
I will want to go to the nursery to buy plants and flowers for our window boxes. I will want to tackle that growing corner of our dining room that is bursting with all things Da related — bills, death certificates, sympathy notes, extra ties that I brought to the funeral home for my siblings to choose from. I will want to get a pedicure. I will want to finish a submission I am tackling for a new anthology. I will want to rehearse my next live lit reading. I will want to do a lot of things.
Who knows what will get done?
More than likely, I will shower. Yes, tomorrow morning I will shower. When Darlene is here, I get to shower without the pressure of having an unattended toddler who has a predilection for climbing on all sorts of things he should not climb on. I call them my “full maintenance showers” and they are rare. They involve deep conditioning and shaving and exfoliation and hair styling. They are delicious and, did I mention, rare.
Tomorrow this mama will be clean and spiffy in addition to being tired and overwhelmed and grieving. Somehow it is easier to be those more challenging things with a fresh shampoo and exfoliated heels.
Thank you, Darlene, thank you. Tomorrow will be a good day because of you. Tomorrow I will shower and for those few, brief, interrupted moments, life will be very uncomplicated.