DOs and DON’Ts, Should You Be in My Position

Should you happen to wake up feeling depressed because last night your 7-year-old had another allergic reaction with swollen tongue, lips, face, and hands to add to the itchy rash, DON’T try to distract yourself by reading Facebook or the local news, because stories about how some of your favorite teachers are likely to be laid off or the man who was sexually abusing a 7-week-old baby are likely to lead to a broader and more generalized existential despair about the state of the world at large.

If you happen to find yourself spending way too much time on the phone with people from the pediatrician’s, insurance, and allergist’s offices, so that you figure it’s too late to make it to that exercise class, DO just hang up the phone and go. Because if you DON’T, you will have missed your chance, and you’ll feel lazy and sluggish and sloppy for the rest of the day. It may seem like a waste of precious time, but it isn’t.  Or it wouldn’t have been, if you had actually gone.

Later, if your toilet overflows, DO take comfort in the fact that your day is now both literally and figuratively craptastic. Because that’s funny, right? Sort of?

If, after you have visited the doctor and spent ten minutes sitting in the back of the car explaining to J about our new EpiPen and why she has to get blood drawn again at the next stop, DON’T cry no matter how much she does, because that isn’t helpful. DO feel good, at least, that you are maintaining your composure. DO agree that you hate this whole thing, too. Because the last thing that you need right now is for your pants to burst into flames.

DO treat your child to a milkshake when you notice that the Control Tower is open already for the season. DON’T get one for yourself. Seriously, you already feel slovenly from not working out. How will a chocolate milkshake make things better? It will taste good for ten minutes, and then you’ll feel over-full and nasty for at least an hour. And, for the love of God, please DON’T accept a free sample of their new Snowball snow cone product. Because you know that as a loyal customer, you’ll receive a huge helping of the the margarita Snowball, and honestly, what’s the point of margarita anything without tequila and salt? And just because you’ve received something for free doesn’t mean that you have to finish every last bit of it. Because if you do, you will feel seriously ill straight through and into the evening.

If your dining room floor happens to look like this:

DO remember the whole chocolate-shake-and-margarita-snow-cone episode and run away from the Girl Scout cookies. Maybe you could write a blog post instead? That would be a productive use of your time. Perhaps it could be therapeutic.

DO step away from said blog post numerous times. The girls need you. There’s homework and chatting and dinner. Rides to soccer. A hungry cat. DON’T sigh when J asks you, please, to keep her company while she brushes her teeth. After all, she could go into anaphylactic shock, like, any minute now. The blog post will get done eventually, and probably before the dishes are clean.

DO embrace the joy when it comes along. Like when you realize that J does not appear to be traumatized and has, in fact, acquired the elusive skill of telling a joke properly. DO reflect that this skill can only truly be appreciated by parents who have endured a phase of tedious, meandering, preschool nonsense jokes. DON’T deny that there is a cosmic lesson here, that when things go poorly, it allows us to exult in the blessed ordinariness, the cheerful snap and punch, of our everyday days.

DO exult that she even gets the timing right on the “interrupting cow” one. Because that delivery is tough!


Why did the fly land on the pancake?





Because it’s a butterfly!


  1. Cheri

    My goodness. I had a thought to call you on the way home today out of the blue. Clearly, I should have listened to my instincts. I say let’s go out for real margaritas soon.

  2. EMT

    Hope J gets better soon and emphathizing with you and your day. Here’s to a better tomorrow.

  3. Judy K

    Just think how good it’s going to be when you figure out what’s causing her allergic reaction, and then when you do, she will never have to endure another one. I’m just trying to be positive. Good that you found time to exercise. Taking care of yourself is important.

  4. Sunny Savannah

    Our poor sweet Josie….and her poor sweet mama. Will this latest bout push you to the head of the queue for the allergist?

  5. Big Sister

    OMG. Craptastic just doesn’t begin to cover it. But I love the word. Kisses and tender hugs to Miss J and to you.

  6. Christine

    So sorry to hear of the continuing craptastic-ness of things for you and sweet little J. I hope things get better very soon. I do love how you can find the little joys! Keep finding them!!!

  7. I stumbled here this morning, and obviously was meant to. My own little J and I have been through similar craziness – plus I love your writing: “it allows us to exult in the blessed ordinariness, the cheerful snap and punch, of our everyday days.” YES!

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