So, how was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was full of family and friends, and turkey and stuffing, and post-dinner games of touch football, and a genuine gladness about the people in your life. Was it? Oh, I hope so.
Mine was kind of grim, but the boys's vacation was excellent, so that's what counts. In order to get Christmas off, I worked Wed-Sat over the holiday, ten-hour shifts, and because I was going to be gone so much the boys and TTD packed up and set off again for NW Iowa and the grandparental dairy farm. They had a wonderful time. Urp quit urping, and Rabbit ran, and TTD got to spend lots of time helping on his younger brother's farm, and everyone got to bask in the glow of really good Iowa meat, and lots of it. I talked to them on the phone a few times, and Rabbit sort of yelled, "Hi Mama! I miss you! Got to go chase Big Cousin and Little Cousin now!" and gave the phone back to TTD. And Urp said, "Hi Mama," with beautiful clarity, and walked away from the phone. Clearly everyone was doing just fine.
I, however, felt forlorn, which I usually don't when I'm alone. And I was glad: it seems to me it's a sign of health that I missed the boys when they were gone. Oh sure, I enjoyed the sleep and silence, hugely, but I deep-down missed them, and that, in a perverse way, reassured me. I want to miss them! I want to want them to be here!
On Saturday the boys stopped by the ER on their way home, and that was surreal, and a treat. A surreal treat. We were having a hideously busy day, just nuts, flat-out, and awful. The thing with an ER is, there's no holds barred: people just keep arriving and arriving and there's no closing time, there's no clinic limit, there's no ER to send them to...you just have to deal. Wheee! So in the middle of my running around with six rooms full of patients and ten people waiting and more coming in (and 30 patients in the main ED, most of them really ill), I hear, "Hi Mama!" and these two glowing little boys in bright fleece coats come barrelling into my arms and stick there like burrs.
Mmmmm. One minute I'm freezing in my ugly blue scrubs, racing physically and mentally as fast as I can, stressed to the max, flooded with flourescent light and drowned in the smell of dirty feet, stale cigarette smoke, and rotavirus poops. The next, I have my nose buried in two silky, little-boy-smelling necks and my arms full of warm, soft, squishy, lovely little boys who are murmuring, "Mama" contentedly and nestling happily. I looked up at TTD, who was wearing a bright-orange fleece (and that's a lot of orange on a guy his size) and said, "Thank you."
They marched off a few minutes later to inspect the escalators (and, TTD reported later, ride them 29 times), and I returned to my nightmare night, which ended with an emergency surgical transfer to the university for my last patient, at midnight. Happy Thanksgiving!
But you know, it was. I was tired and stressed and overworked, and I missed my boys, but I was grateful, when I could get my head on straight, that my job is interesting (mostly), decently paid, and somewhat useful (sometimes). I was grateful that I had two delicious boys, my Violent Viking and my Poetic Pirate, to squash in the midst of a wretched shift. I was--I am--grateful that they traveled safely, and that we are all back together. And I say again: I am grateful that I can miss them, and then welcome them home.
Now, if only Urp would SLEEP....