Batman and the Bully by Amy M. Dawson
Have you ever noticed when one thing goes wrong, the universe can deliver a one-two punch like a middle-school bully? Where’s a superhero to deliver you from disaster when you really need it?
The punch always comes when my husband is away. Once, my then three-year-old lodged a Polly Pocket shoe so far in her nasal cavity an air-blasting scope was necessary to extricate the tiny plastic invader. Another time, a bird flew down my chimney and into my house. Yet another time, my dog ingested a roll of grosgrain ribbon. In all instances, my husband was out of town. This year’s whallop: my nine-year-old has mono. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Thirty seconds after my husband leaves for a week-long trip to Belgium, I start sniffling. The next morning I have a sinus infection threatening to eject my eyeballs from their sockets, bronchitis suggesting an iron lung will be my next big purchase, and malaria. Okay, I said malaria for dramatic effect, but you get the point. Then both my children catch strep throat for the 47th time this year. Not good for a working mom whose occupation requires a modicum of time uninterrupted by requests for Motrin, popsicles and to mediate disagreements over who is tackiest on Toddlers and Tiaras.
Then my dishwasher floods, and Willie Nelson lectures me about drinking wine. Really it was a repairman who looked like Willie explaining a broken wine glass was clogging my dishwasher. Super. Then my daughter announces she’s found a lump in her neck.
Let me tell you, if you search Web MD for “lump in neck” while on sinus meds, rational thought disappears quicker than a $20 bill in Vegas. She has mono, which on the scary-stuff spectrum is pretty low. But it’s far from fun. I’m not looking for sympathy (or enticing you to Google the word lump – don’t.) We’ve all been in this spot — where you think things could not possibly get worse. And then they do. Then they do again.
When this happens I am reminded of the kindness of good friends – the ones who race to your house because they know something isn’t quite right. I’m reminded moms are tough, and kids are resilient. I remember I’d rather my husband be home and forget to take out the trash than be away and all the chores be done. And I learn to appreciate those “nothing interesting happened” days. Boring is a blessing in disguise.
I’m reminded superheroes don’t necessarily wear capes, but are often the unassuming neighbor, a kind pediatrician, a helpful teacher. And that the combination of prescription cough syrup and a Google search is always a bad idea. But most important, when you stand up to a bully, he backs down. Kersplat.
Amy M. Dawson is an Alpharetta-based writer way behind on her to-do list, but way ahead on reaching the cap on her medical spending account.