A Comedy of Errors

by Ashley Weeks Cart

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This week has been A Week. A series of events that when considered independently are really quite manageable. Annoying, but manageable. But when put altogether make up a glorious, ridiculous comedy of errors. This week is not our finest.

It didn’t help that I began the week falling prey to Courtland’s cold. Sleep is already pretty iffy these days with baby’s movements and my limited bladder serving as regular disruptions, but coupled with a searing sore throat and stuffy nose, I spend most of my nights tossing and turning and my days just trying to get through with a pounding headache and achy limbs. I am not at my best.

And then the dogs went and got themselves sprayed by a skunk late one night, so James was up shampooing them with a concoction of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap in 20 degree February weather, while I researched how the hell to get the smell out of our home, and James. It lingers on to this day, as do bowls of vinegar strategically placed around the house that shall allegedly help on this front.

The next day, we awoke to a kitchen filled with dog vomit and diarrhea (likely the product of the dogs licking the skunk oil that still remained on their coats during the night – even after multiple washes, the oil lingers). And, we arrived post-work/school to a home without power, so we had an evening of candlelight and no potable water, flushable toilets or functional showers (life on well water!). James feared that he was coming down with a GI bug that’s going around, and I am just thanking my lucky stars that that turned out to be a false alarm because OMG, I can’t really even go there if that had been our evening given that we were without functional bathrooms.

I’m still very much under-the-weather and feeling lousy as all get, but our housekeeper (who was Courtland’s nanny and has been a part of our family’s lives for going on five years) came over today and brought sanity to our home that was turning into a war zone, and tomorrow is Friday, and a new sectional sofa arrives, and my sister comes to town for a long weekend to help watch Sunny on her day off from school Monday, so I have many many things for which to be thankful.

I realize that I often write about the antics of our life chez Cart. While the characters and specific circumstances may be ours, these experiences are not unique to anyone parenting young children (or with other dependents in their lives). While it may seem that I’m complaining or woe-is-meing or bemoaning this life and these situations, the reality is that I am acutely aware and deeply grateful that any “problems” that we’re managing are just that, manageable. And comfortable. And so dang easy in the grand scheme of life.

We are privileged beyond measure.

Yes, vomit clean up sucks. Sleep deprivation makes you loopy. And sick kids are pitiful and no fun. But their sicknesses are treatable. Bodily fluids are cleanable. And, eh, I can sleep when I’m dead. The real warriors are those fighting for daily access to power and clean water and sanitation – something I may be inconvenienced with for a day or two but take for granted nearly every other day. For their children’s safety and health. Keeping a roof over their family’s heads and food in their bellies. Access to education and economic opportunity. Fair treatment and wages and life experiences.

I share the less fun moments of our life to avoid painting a sugar-coated view of parenthood and as reminders to appreciate the ups. But also, most significantly, as comic relief, because I am so dang fortunate that these “issues” I’m sharing can be confronted and looked back on with humor and laughter. And in my own way and however I can, I am fighting for a world in which all parents have that luxury. And teaching my children to stand up and do the same. A reminder to use my voice, and my vote, and my dollars, and my privilege to make whatever difference I can as not everyone is on equal footing, and I have the ability (and I think, responsibility) to help be part of the change.