No, this is not a post where I reflect back on my college years where drinking, flirting, and studying were an integral part of life. Not necessarily in that order. I wouldn't classify myself as a big drinker in college. I do have a few decent puke stories, but that's a different post.
Coach and I just returned from a long weekend in a resort on a lake in Wisconsin with my entire side of the family. It was awesome. Picture majority of the 22 cousins playing an intense game of Frisbee in the grass with the uncles while a few of the younger ones perched on a nearby blanket and belted out the theme song from 'Frozen' while waiting for the fireworks to start from a barge on the Lake. Keep-away games in the pool (where Curly made an amazing mid-air interception after being thrown sky high by Coach), mini golf, volleyball, soccer, baseball, evening board or card games, horse back riding, kayaking, photo bombing, and of course eating rounded out the rest of the weekend. My parents surprised my four siblings and I with this great plan for a getaway in late February. Back when warm summer weather and gentle lake breezes remained abstract thoughts that we only dared to dream about. We've eagerly anticipated the arrival of this weekend every since. We departed for home with hundreds of group pictures, tanned skin, and lasting memories. Looking back at the great time that we had, I'm so relieved that everyone was able to participate.
While summer can be busy, the month of May seems to become more and more packed with activities, parties, and celebrations each year. This April I studied the May calendar closely to prepare for the nonstop schedule that faced us.
One weekend Reggie, Mini, and Eddie competed in an Irish music competition in St. Louis. Tetonka's Irish music career is just beginning, so he accompanied me on the trip just to check it out. He does better if he knows what to expect as his involvement increases anyway. Coach stayed home to attend a rigorous water polo tournament that Laddie played in. Curly scored a sleep over invite at a cousins' house at the last minute, which was nice because how many water polo tournaments can one 6 year old take in anyway? They bolted up to a cousin's first communion party in Northern Illinois later in the afternoon on Saturday. Although the Irish music scene is much more relaxed than Irish dancing competitions, I was barely able to enjoy the non-wig wearing event.
After Eddie and Tetonka woke me up at 2:00 in the morning on Saturday because of spacial disagreements in their shared bed, I scolded them for interfering with my much needed sleep. I intended to drive home the next day and would need to be well rested. A moment after I forced Eddie to find some comfortable floor space, I heard him whispering to someone. I sat up in time to hear, "Leave her alone. She needs to sleep. You'll be fine." I jumped up and followed Mini, who was already sleeping on the floor, to the bathroom. There we stayed for the next 5 hours. I squatted with half my ass on the tub while I held Mini's hair back. She puked for hours on end. We counted 18 in total. Awful. One of the longer nights of my life as I pondered how I would get us home with three hours of sleep under my droopy eyelids.
Just after she had held down a small amount of Gatorade (supplied by her on-hand fiddle teacher and aunt, who also happens to be a family practice doctor) for over an hour, she puked it all up. I knew she wanted to play her fiddle after all that practice. I pointed out that she was having a great hair day, all things considered. Urged her to put her clothes on, and then ordered her to test out her strength by holding up the fiddle and giving me a few notes. Remarkably Mini managed to perform her fiddle pieces for the judge early in the morning before crawling into bed where a high fever made her drift in and out of sleep. During the competition I posted myself 10 feet away, plastic bag in hand - just in case. We made it home safely, and Mini recovered in the next 24 hours.
The following weekend was Reggie's First Holy Communion. We hosted almost 45 people. I made all of the brunch food myself and cleaned the house as well. All the clothes were laid out and ironed so we wouldn't be late to the 9 am mass. The house needed to be left in 'party-ready' mode so our guests could arrive directly after the mass. In addition to party preparations, I worked every day that week. Busy.
The mass was lovely. Reggie read all of the prayers of the faithful with great enthusiasm and clarity just as we had practiced. Afterwards, we raced around the house finishing off the last few details. The kids ran around outside in the cool, spring weather while the adults sat down to eat. Reggie came inside to tell me that his tummy hurt. Had he eaten breakfast, or was that overlooked due to the crazy morning? I made him a plate assuming that he just needed a bit of food in his system. I whispered with him about whether or not this could be a bathroom issue. We managed to get a handful of family photos taken before he insisted on changing out of his suit. I didn't notice that he had been upstairs for quite some time until his tear streaked face appeared in the kitchen. "Do you think you are going to throw up?" I asked. Affirmative head shake. We disappeared upstairs. Hours over the toilet instead of hours in the yard playing with dozens of cousins from both sides of the family. Bummer.
The following weekend (you know where this is heading, don't you?) I was taking Mini to a wedding mass for a girl I used to sit for. From there, Coach would grab the caddies and pick us up so we could drive up to Milwaukee for my sister's daughters joint graduation party (a high school and an 8th grade). The wedding mass conflicted with the graduation party, but I wouldn't miss it for the world (or for another grad party). Luckily Reggie and Curly scored a ride earlier in the day with my other sister, and Tetonka was out of town. That Friday night we had friends over on the deck to celebrate the arrival of summer. Drinks, hors d'oeuvres, and lots of laughs. In the middle of the night, Eddie came in and woke me up. Upset stomach.
Been down this path with him before. I gently accused him of over eating at our gathering. I refused to accept that he too could be sick. (Historically speaking he did vomit all over my kitchen floor in the middle of the night about a year and a half ago after attending a Notre Dame football game with my dad. Tale-gating doesn't mix well with a lack of self control). I also not so gently reminded him that a 13 year old should not wake up his mother if his tummy hurts. Deal with it. Tums administered. We waited. Sure enough. Puke. Three weekends in a row. Stupid, persistent stomach bug. Damn did I miss sleep. Eddie moaned. He's not easy to be around when he isn't well. He slept in small intervals on the bath mat on the bathroom floor while I sat and rubbed his leg. Just as I would sneak back to bed, I would hear him hurling all over again and I would be at his side to pat his back, offer the cold washcloth for his forehead, and remind him to rinse his mouth but not to drink anything yet. Eddie was heartbroken, when he took the time to think about it. His plans to caddy in the morning dashed. Graduation party with cousinly fun impossible. I slept on the way to the party. Eddie insisted he could stay home alone. Shortly after eating, I jumped in my parents car and bummed a ride home with them. I felt too bad leaving him home. My folks had spent the night before the party attending the graduation ceremony, so they were tuckered. That made three of us.
The next weekend I was fearful. Would the bug claim another victim under my roof? No, we skated thru the entire weekend without an issue. The remaining weeks leading up to the 4th of July all proved healthy. Out of sight, out of mind. I managed to forget what havoc the puke potential would have equated to for this momentous occasion. Under the weather kids had interfered with so much over three consecutive May weekends, I was relieved that no one fell ill in the eleventh hour. With so many different schedules it was amazing that we were all able to spend an entire, memorable weekend together.