Tender Mercies: Cabin Fever Edition

At 4:17 I called it.


It was boiling in my blood. The irritating, stuffed feeling of not having a breath of fresh air in three days had infiltrated my skull. The Chief was finger painting with pudding (Daddy bought a year supply of Costco chocolate pudding) all over the walls. I didn't care. I didn't care. I just wanted something else in my lungs other than the Caribbean Salsa candle and the constant blowing of dry heat out of the vents.

So I stepped outside into the atmosphere of gray sky colored by inversion. I saw my breath linger out of my mouth and into the freeze of late afternoon. The cold overcame the deep breath I was supposed to be taking, so I dashed back inside.

Stuffy house? Frigid temps? What choices are these? Especially when I've been so sick lately with some respiratory gunk and getting out of the house is just not an option. These days the bladder can't do coughing or sneezing without reaction. "Stay inside. It is best to stay inside." Warns everyone.

Cabin Fever, you come right on time every year, mid-February. You make me crazy, you. You make me pine for sunshine in a way August will never understand. You are like atmospheric constipation. Why try my soul like you do?

After The Chief was cleaned up, the walls washed and the highchair scrubbed I let the little fireball set ablaze another area of the house. This time it was the dumped out garbage in the den, where he (luckily) found an old tube of toothpaste. I let him suck on it for awhile. I didn't care. I didn't care. I just wanted him to be content.

I thought about making a salad. And that is as far as I got.

I tried to snuggle with The Chief and read books, but after the fifteenth "Please don't kick mommy in the tummy" which lead to the sixteenth, "DON'T KICK MOMMY IN THE TUMMY!" I gave up on that too. The child needed a pro-wrestling gig and I wasn't going to be the opponent.

Instead I prayed, "Please Heavenly Father, please let someone show up at our house to create a diversion around here. The Chief, he suffers--as do I--from the Cabin Fever. Amen."

At 7:02 a knock on the door.

It was my sister in law Lisa.

"You were on my mind tonight." She said as I let her in the door.

"Really? Where are your children?" I asked hopefully, looking past her out into the driveway.

"Oh I told them to stay out in the car."

"No! No! Let them in! Let them all in."

"But they have ice cream cones, all five of them."

"I don't care what they have. Get them and bring them in right now."

And in they came. Miles and Owen and Phoebe and Hugh and Margaret with ice cream cones and enough energy to supply Los Angeles for an evening.

I thought The Chief was going faint in the glory of it all.

There was wrestling and piggy backs and toys littered all over the house. And Margaret hugged The Chief and The Chief pinned her down to the ground without her crying at all. And Hugh was kind enough to let The Chief follow him around in shock and awe of his coolness. There were dog piles and books read and chasing and tears and laughing and drinks of water. At one point The Chief sprawled out on the living room floor, belly up, with all of his limbs extended--almost like he was doing a snow angel in the carpet. He was exhausted with joy.

You should've seen it.

Meanwhile Lisa and I had a great, albeit often-interrupted talk about important matters pertaining to the soul of a mother. I confessed that her inspiration to stop by was an answer to my prayers. She brought with her the cure for our disease. And before they left she had the entire crew pick up my whole house. Spotless. As if they were never there.

8:52 I put The Chief to bed.

And as we prayed together we thanked Heavenly Father for healing our type of illness.

Until next year Cabin Fever. Until next year . . .

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