Intermission over, the curtains raise. The mother enters.
Scene 3: Piano & Jumper Cables
Another night passes and we find the mother once again fixing breakfast in the kitchen. Boosted by the happy ending of her suspendered adventure of the previous day, her outlook is bright.
The work day commences and comes to a well-ordered end in time to make an early carpool arrival – ensuring a timely appearance for her daughter’s second piano lesson. In line for half an hour, with snacks prepared and resting thoughtfulness underway, she sketches and thinks and waits.
Ah, the cars crank and brake lights glow. Ready for the slow crawl around the corner towards the school, she turns the key. Tick tick tick – nothing.
tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick – nothing.
Nothing, Nothing, NOTHING!!!!!
It’s too much. It’s the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
With wide, glazing eyes she waves the moving carpool line around her unmoving car. She calls her husband and her mother and her stamina fails.
She sits in carpool line and cries. Pitiful.
Knowing the eagerly awaited piano lesson will be missed, she sits deflated and calls the instructor. But wait! Cancellations have been made and another lesson time is available whenever the mother can get there! Saved from the tears of her daughter on top of her own, another surprise approaches.
A kind stranger, circling back, pulls in front and signals for the mother to pop the hood. With jumper cables and an understanding smile, with his bouncing daughter watching from the back seat, he starts her car! Again, the mother cries, but this time overwhelmed by the kindness of others.
The day is saved and the mother carries on.
Scene 4: Sanitized Lungs
Night falls and the tired mother sinks into the couch, a glass of wine and a heated blanket. Surely, surely, that’s enough fun for one week. With an inner pep-talk, she tells herself that tomorrow is Friday…just plain Friday. Work and done.
Morning comes and father is ill.
With little sympathy where there should be more, the groggy mother impatiently fusses at father for not taking his medicine. Upon further discussion over medicinal locations, and the lack of discovery, she exclaims in short-tempered exasperation “You’re a MAN!!!” and stomps to the shower. Poor father, getting the brunt of a bad week at 6:00am.
With a haggard disposition and weary eyes, she puts her head down and pushes through the day. A pendulum of kindness and frustration, she tries to regain her balance and clarity. She takes father to the doctor, with three silly kids bobbing and chattering behind her.
The diagnosis seems a cruel joke: severe flu and bronchitis.
Father is settled onto the couch, as quarantined as one can get in a small home of five people. The mother takes a deep, careful breath and puts on another metaphorical hat, dosing medication and spraying lots of Lysol. A spaghetti dinner and chicken noodle soup are readily provided by friends, and the mother continues to scurry back and forth around the house, tidying and germ-killing and care-taking.
Sitting at her desk in the quiet of an afternoon family rest, the mother reflects upon the strange, yet ordinary stories of a long, long week. There always seems to be a snag, a hole, a bump, a crash that must be navigated. She knows you can’t change it, you just have to take what comes and find some humor in each adventure. It helps her carry on and find a warm spot to rest at the end of the day.
“Maybe we do the right things, maybe we do the wrong, spending each day, wending our way along. But when we want to sing, we sing. When we want to dance, we dance. You can do your betting, we’re getting some fun out of life.” -Some Fun Out of Life, Madeleine Peyroux
Check out the previous installments: