It’s been a rough 10 weeks in the Gibwater casa.
In the 10 weeks since the Littlest One was born, it’s been what feels like a cascade of mala suerte here on Calle Colomos. We’ve become the Bad News Osos.
There was a difficult birth, from which I’m still recovering. Then there was thrush and mastitis and thrush again…and again, all in the service of teaching the Littlest One to nurse. There have been a multitude of illnesses, like toddler colds that sound like death in your lungs and grandparents targeted by Montezuma and mamas with mystery ailments and cat worms and, worst of all, a two-week-old who wound up in the hospital for a week with a cold turned sepsis and almost pneumonia. There was a car accident (¡poor Segundo’s door!) and insurance confusions and a stalker of a driver trying to scam us for more money for five weeks. There was single parenting for 10 days while Fresh took high school rascals to Central Europe. There have been brown outs and hot water failures, sink explosions and stolen side-view mirrors, screwed up paperwork and insurance headaches. There have been missed excursions and failed excursions and so many days spent nap- and milk-trapped in the house. There is the return of the heat, and along with it, the return of the cockroaches. Oh, and Wisconsin, Harvard, and Ohio State all lost in March Madness.
It doesn’t sound quite as bad as it feels when I write it all out, but when you are sleep deprived and hormonal and dealing with the day-to-day annoyances of life (you know, like dealing with local bureaucracy, getting lost on unmarked streets with a screaming baby in the backseat, or having a toddler who enjoys flinging herself like a projectile off beds and couches onto hard cement floors), well–it’s been a rough 10 weeks in the Gibwater casa.
But then there was yesterday.
Easter Sunday. A day when all but the churches and grocery stores of Guadalajara are closed. A day that we knew would be spent at home, just our little family, with no obligations–and no pressure to make obligations. We woke up to the last day in March with it feeling like mid-July: sun beaming, heat rising. We lingered in pajamas for far too long, sipping cup after cup of coffee while one child nursed to his heart’s content and the other sang and danced her way around the morning. At some point after pancakes, as the toddler drifted off for her mid-day siesta, we finally made an Easter plan: Dye some eggs. Hide some eggs. Eat some lunch.
And with that simplicity, the afternoon unfolded. Anna awoke to a Duck Hunt (because plastic eggs were not to be found), little rubber duckies scattered around the yard. Less interested in the paleta that awaited her when her basket was full, she instead bounced over to me, arms exploding with duckies: “Mas, mama, mas. Mas. Mas pease.” And so she followed me around the yard, round after round, while I ‘hid’ ducks in the grass, on the table, next to her brother. With each duck spotting, she squealed, “Duckie!” That alone made the day perfect. Never mind that each time she bent down to squeeze her duckies and show them to the Littlest One, he melted into smiles and let out his newfound screech of a giggle. Bouncing in the shade with Mama while Sister played at his side, Rory enjoyed that duck hunt as much as anyone else.
The improv that was egg dying was an encore hit as Act II. Kool-Aid for dye, a giant old t-shirt of papa’s, and this little girl was off in Messy Toddler Heaven, splashing eggs in ‘paint’, dumping colored water on the table and her lap, painting her face instead of eggs, eventually drinking the cups of ‘dye’ (and when she discovered the most delicious of the dyes, another sweet round of, “Mas. Mas blue. Mas, pease”). She might have even been distracted enough by Kool-Aid to eat tuna salad. Sticky hands, rainbow face, dirty clothes: Sure signs of a successful art project and a happy toddler.
And somewhere after that, we made lasagna. Anna listened to Easter hymns at the church next door. We made summer plans. We blew up her swimming pool and let her somersault around in it with stuffed animals. Rory took a nap. Anna ran around our little coto barefoot. The kids had baths. Dusk brought back that perfect Guadalajara evening weather. And just like that, the illnesses, the headaches and hassles, the cockroaches and the broken faucets, for a night, all were drowned out by the laughter and delight and sweet sleeping sighs of our children. It felt like a perfect summer day, but here in Mexico, it was just another day. Made perfect because of the weeks of frustration and tears that made us content to succumb to the pleasures of doing nothing on a Sunday together, at home, in the sunshine.
March 31. Easter Sunday. Sunshine. Frozen margaritas. Kiddy pools. Dirty feet. Laughter. Games. Songs. Messes. Strolls. Family dinner. A day to remind me that we will make do. Already and always, we are making do.
While living in Mexico, I joked that speaking Spanish forced me to be far more Zen about life: Since I could only speak in the present tense, I was forced to just live in that present tense.
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