I was so excited. The perfect dress. Adorable shoes. Little, ruffly socks and a pink hair bow. I planned to curl her stick-straight hair and take lots of pictures. The bunny's visit at home, the church egg hunt and games, service, then dinner at a friend's. A perfect day, to help me forget this day eleven years ago, the day my mother entered the hospital, never to leave again. I was ready, to wipe the slate clean and lay a new memory over it.
Then, Good Friday hit with a vengeance.
I went to Target and Wegman's, filling the cart with fresh fruit, chocolate treats and 4 kinds of sorbet for the terrine I was making to go with homemade cookies I'd bake on Saturday, a contribution to the grand Easter meal.
We got home, planning a dinner out, but Rowan was tired. I suggested ordering in, and Dr. B said, "that's just what I was thinking." She had leftovers, we ate Bell's Greek Pizza, and I put her to bed.
Then my tummy started rumbling.
I decided to go to bed early. Unfortunately, I didn't get much sleep. I spent the next 12 hours retching everything that had entered my body in the last day into an ice-cream bucket, and wishing I could keep a spoonful of water down long enough for some Advil to take effect.
Dr. B was fine. It wasn't the pizza. Turns out I picked up more than fruit and sorbet at the store.
Saturday I stayed in bed all day, canceling with our friend for Sunday dinner for fear of getting everyone sick, and forbidding Rowan to come close to me. It killed me to see her standing at the door, "Mommy? Seeping? Jammies?" Her dad laid her down for a nap, and when she woke up, she stood in her crib, taking off all her clothes and her diaper and shouting loudly, so she would be sure I could hear her, "Mommy! I yow you! I yow you, Mommy!"
By 8 PM, it had been several hours since I'd last thrown up, I'd kept down a little applesauce and some toast, and things were looking up. I went down to kick off the Easter Bunny's visit. And was met with a mountain of unwashed dishes, food-spotted counters, and no clean diapers.
I guess I am needed around here.
I finally got to bed around 10:30, and as Dr. B tucked me in (after "fixing" the messed up bed for me, and turning down the covers), I said, "if I can't sleep, I'm taking an Ambien because I'm exhausted and I need some rest." He just smiled.
The next thing I knew it was 8:45 AM. The egg hunt started at 9:30. I felt, surprisingly, OK.
I could do it. I could make it!
I rushed her downstairs, shoveled some oatmeal, applesauce and toast in, and slugged 1/2 a cup of coffee with no signs of nausea. We ran upstairs while Dr. B walked the dog, and showered her, then me. He dressed her in her perfect outfit, but there was no time for hair curling. I blasted my hair enough so it looked sort of dry, swept it into a ponytail, and grabbed my makeup bag for a quick maquillage in the car. We were a few minutes late (but only missed the instructions she wouldn't have understood anyway), but we made it. Her hair looked really dorky*, but we made it.
A young girl quickly took Rowan under her wing, helping her decorate her Easter bag with stickers and crayon scribbles, and making her Easter Egg magnet with puffy crosses and fish on it. Margaret led Rowan around the grounds, helping her to find the eggs that were scattered about, beneath trees and tucked into the mulch. They played games and had treats. She loved it.
We went in for church, and she stayed just as long as her favorite church buddy Elena did, then she was ready for the playroom with her where Daddy was helping out.
I breathed in the strong, sweet scent of the hyacinths on the altar, thankful that the smell didn't make me want to chuck my breakfast. I greeted the people I see every week, and a few new faces. I got a hug from the pastor. I listened, while they shared the wonderful news I'd heard so many times. I shared a hymnal with a friend.
I sang, and felt it all go.
We have a new start. One I can't control, can't make perfect. But I can enjoy it.
*I tried to trim her bangs after church. Then Dr. B tried to fix it. I keep telling myself it will grow out.