The tears don’t stop flowing.
Washing up, when the boys fight, staring at a computer screen, when someone tries to help.
None of it helps.
Five hours in emergency at Mona Vale Hospital, about forty five minutes in the back of an ambulance (they’re surprisingly roomy), four hours in emergency at Sydney Children’s Hospital and then 24 hours in the oncology ward (only place with a bed, plus neither of us had a cough, cold, runny nose, recent exposure to contagious viruses or … lice!) .
Felix and I have just spent an unexpected two days in hopsital due to him having appendicitis.
A normal Friday morning after a horrible night of being up to Grover twice, Felix twice and Jasper once saw Felix got up in tears complaining of a really sore tummy on the lower right side. I just knew it was appendicitis. Like those new cars with the inbuilt sensors to tell you you’re about to rear-end that even more fancy car behind you in the school pick-up line, mother’s just ‘know’ these things.
Oh sure, there are the times your batteries are running low and your inbuilt sensor is out of whack and you just think your kid is such a whinger when indeed they have actually broken their finger/toe/arm, but mother’s just know this stuff.
But the tears, my sense of being about to lose it, have caught me off guard.
It has been an unexpected reminder of just how stressful and adrenalin-orientated having a child in hospital is.
I have cleaned and rearranged the back room, trying to stamp my presence back on the family unit.
I’ve repacked the dishwasher – what is it with people being so useless at stacking a dishwasher the right way – and cleaned up the kitchen. I’ve made the kids breakfast just the way I know they like it and all through it have found floods of tears coming from nowhere.
And then I find I am crying for everything.
For how many times I have been through this with Oscar and how ‘used’ to it I have become. How dented, scratched and scraped I’ve been over the years as we go through another procedure, another surgery, another appointment, another another another. I cry that now I’m too tough on Oscar, not showing enough care, love, sympathy for each knock along the way. Heartless.
For how having another child in hospital with something as mainstream as appendicitis feels like the first scratch on a brand new car and I cry for realising how weathered, how damaged I am. I don’t notice the dents and scratches anymore except for the occasional run of the hand over the memories and trying to recall which incident caused what scar.
For everything that has gone on here in the last month I am now too scared to tell you all for fear of even more judgment from those who are supposed to know me best but from their comments, texts, emails and assumptions know me so little.
For the upheaval that is ahead of us that I have no idea of how we will manage.
For the promise of a whole new chapter for Chef and I and our boys that has, yet again, been cut from the story. Put on hold for maybe a spot later in the book. But who knows. Maybe that chapter will never fit this story.
For what I feel is blind corner after blind corner on the road I’m travelling when just a few weeks ago I felt like the road was finally straight and the sun shining warmly on my face.
For while I should be focused on my boy with the sore belly I am having to deal with managing the expectations and needs of others – like when you know you’re just driving to the shop but have to keep checking your mirrors and intersections for those motorists who are not.
And when I feel I can’t stand it anymore I realise I am still going.
Still willing myself and my family forward.
I want to scream at some people, stomp my foot, cry and wail and shut the door on the world.
But no. I go on. Ferrying this family of mine as safely as I can through whatever weather is outside.
Drive Kim, drive.
My old school motto keeps coming into my head: strive for the highest. A saying our principal used to say to the swimming team before a competition is not far behind it: swim up and over the edge girls, up and over the edge.
Felix is fine. On the mend. A little teary as such a shock and an anaesthetic can make you.
He has also finally showered. Small blessings.
The rest of the boys are fine. Glad he is home. Glad I am back. Playing and fighting as if it had never happened.
I realise that the car may be scratched and dented, the floor marked by myriad journeys and questionable food stuffs and sand, so much sand, but it still goes. It’s perpetual motion is not in question.
I will be fine. The tears will subside, I will dust myself off and keep moving.