Cuts Like a Spice


It’s been quite a week or two.

There was a lot of racing around. Games, lessons, school events, pick-ups, and drop-offs. From 7:30 in the morning until 8 at night or later. Who needs to be where, when? What do they need? Uniform? Music book? Snacks? Extra things to do if we have to wait for a sibling? Is there gas in the car? Do I have sunscreen on?

Then the Universe decided to see if I wanted to level up.

Let’s add a horny cicada who set up what I’m pretty sure is a pop-up club for other horny cicadas right outside the house. Like, inches from a window. Then it decided to advertise nonstop for four days. It’s all really funny and “Oh, I love cicadas” until it keeps you awake several nights in a row, and then provides whatever the opposite of white noise is while trying to concentrate on work.

( I have never once thought or said, “Oh, I love cicadas.”)

Bumps and bruises? Sure, that’s a regular thing. I’m not graceful. Let’s add a panicky attempt to get dinner on the table after a game ran late while simultaneously checking in on the one or two of my children I hadn’t touched base with while making sure homework was done, music practiced, and temperaments in the green zone. I hulked it a bit and in what was, I swear, not a pique of anger, put a spice jar down on the counter too hard.

That’s when I learned that this company uses glass (yeah! Environmentally friendly!) instead of plastic (shatterproof.) And in picking it up again, without looking to see that there were several jagged edges sticking out from the jar, sliced my right hand open.

I’m lucky I have a spouse who is not squeamish with blood, also how to bandage my hand, and how to check to see if I needed stitches. (I didn’t.) It was my writing hand, so there were some days of slow painful typing, no knitting, no handwriting, and a reluctance to go near a book because with my luck…paper cuts. The bandage scratched my face every time I washed it. Putting any sort of lotion on my face or body became an exercise in remembering to keep the bandage on. (Note to all of you – don’t get retinol in a deep cut.) It hurt for several days but gave me a good lesson in how useful opposable thumbs actually are because half of mine weren’t for 72 hours.

But I think if I were to get a palm reading, I’d have some new plot twists thanks to this cool scar.

I went to the DMV, a funhouse of misery. I had to text my husband in a panic and beg him to bring an extra level of proof of residency because they “might not take” what I had, but I wouldn’t know until I got to the last step of the process. He delivered, as always.

You’d think no one wanting to be at the DMV would be a bonding activity, helping to spread the misery a little thinner, but nope. Still an awful place. In either a moment of hope or cruelty after I’d been there long enough to establish the DMV as my common-law spouse, one employee asked me, “Do you want to keep your weight and height on your license the same as last time?”

And I honestly couldn’t tell if that was a question meant to give hope or meant to serve up a nice heap of nihilism.

And then last Saturday, I was felled. I don’t know if it was the flu or one of those temporary brain tumors I diagnose myself with every time I’m knocked on my ass by a cluster of weird symptoms (this time terrible headache, loss of appetite, occasional dizziness, sleepiness, body aches, no fever but sweaty) for two days.

During those miserable hours, I spent a lot of time thinking about my mortality, because I had nothing else I could focus on and it’s a hot topic my brain likes to introduce every so often. Usually, I can wave it off with “I am busy! I am knitting/reading/watching tv/cleaning/talking/researching/writing/breathing. Not now.” But, you know. Thoughts happen. And I wondered, as I dipped but a toe to that thin veil between life and death, what would happen to my kids if I were to die.

Who would tell them crazy stories of horny cicadas? Who would know which child prefers which type of juice in the morning? Who would tell my daughter how to take up space in this world? Who would help my sons navigate the perils of manhood? Who would offer the maternal succor at all the small indignities that hurt so much at the time? Who would know exactly when to soothe them and when to lift their chin and tell them to rise up? Or the combination of both? Who will know them like I do?

My husband always jokes that he’ll just have to hire someone to be their mother if I die (I’ve had the flu before and may have reacted with similar even-keeledness).

You can’t hire someone to love them, and this pulled center stage the fragility I think all parents go through one or a million times.

But I also realized – I have someone to take care of me. I have someone still to kiss me on my forehead to bring me tea, to cart the kids around. And although he may not do it the way I do it, the kids have another parent who will be their safe place to land and their best place from which to launch. He also makes a really good omelet.

Cuts heal, flu bugs pass, cicadas…die, I suppose, and I’ve never been stuck at a DMV long enough to require a change of clothes. We get through.

I wish you all someone to get through it with.

1 thought on “Cuts Like a Spice

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