Genevieve comes from a creative and loving family, one I’m very glad to have known since the mid-80s, when we all lived in Southern California. I’m tickled to get to know her as an adult and witness how she is translating that love and creativity into her own language and life as a professional, mother, and wife. She is an Emmy Award-winning writer/producer/content creator for children’s TV.
by Genevieve LeDoux, Atlanta, Georgia
My husband asked how my day went today…It went something like this:
“Mom. Mom, wake up. I let the dog out to potty but then let him in because he had poop stuck in his butt. So I tried to help him out with a rag but it got on my hands so I had to wash them but I forgot to turn off the water so the sink overflowed.”
* dog crap on Hudson’s cheek and chin.
I force my feet to the floor. I’m wearing one sock, my husband’s shirt from college, the “beauty” face mask I forgot to wash off, and nothing else.
I begin soaking up the inch-deep puddle of water in the bathroom.
Dempsey saunters in. “Gimme chocolate milk and YouTube or you are not my friend, Mommy.” I love you too. “Say please, Dempsey”… he replies…”please Dempsey.” I make breakfast. Damn proud of myself for the Cool Whip and strawberry face I create on top of the waffles. I sit with Dempsey. He enjoys his four more glasses of chocolate milk I provide him because I’m not really awake yet and this soothes the beast. He eats none of the breakfast I made. I get 3 sips of coffee in.
Door bell rings. Package? Gardener? Crazy escaped lunatic? Guys in hazmat suits here for 5 days to clean up raw sewage and a bug infestation in my basement? (Yes, this happened in isolation.) Why not? You really never know.
Mommy Teacher appears…
“Ok, Hudson. It’s time for learning. You have to write four sentences about how plants grow. I’ll help you.”
“They grow outside, okay! They are free not trapped! Sun and fun and friends! I’m going to be alone in my room so you can think about this!”
Uh. Fine. Go.
“Not gonna talk about it, huh? I knew you didn’t love me.”
Well, that went better than Monday.
Dempsey from my office: “Mommy!! I drew a circle!“ Where did you draw it? “On your new computer! With the sharpie pen!”
*Dog knocks breakfast on the floor and eats the last three eggs in the house. Go to grab plate, slip on yogurt squeeze pouch that has been carefully set as a booby trap beside table. Yesterday.
It’s now 7am.
Stepson awakes. Add in immense desire for anything pomegranate flavored, crackers that make nine million crumbs and the sounds of virtual karate classes and trombone lessons. He’s 13 and to say he’s often hungry is an understatement.
Time to use the bathroom. Ah. Personal time. Both boys enter with separate emergencies. Netflix has paused Dempsey’s 900th viewing of True and the Rainbow Kingdom. Hudson has lost his video game level and must start all over from the beginning. Tears and screams. I realize I have no toilet paper. Someone has used it all and they have not replaced the roll. I ask them to help me. They leave and no one ever returns. They don’t respond to my cries. I use baby wipes and hope it doesn’t clog the toilet.
I return to the living room.
Dempsey: “I want chocolate milk and I stuck play-doh in my nose — Ohhh I have to go doody. Now.”
Head to kid’s bathroom. Dempsey takes his sweet time. I go to walk away — “Do not leave. You have to wipe my butt.” I return and wipe butt like the good servant I am.
Scamp the cat scooches by releasing his anal glands for the first time. There is NOTHING worse. Nothing. And I cannot leave the house. What did I do in my last life, I ponder.
I hear water running. The toilet is clogged and overflowing. This one is on me.
It is now 7:15am.
Second breakfast of veggie snacks, popcorn and leftover Easter candy.
Hudson climbs on my lap to tell me I’m the greatest mommy in the world. Big hug. All worth it. Dempsey shrieks, “Group hug!” and jumps towards us, drop kicking me in the mouth.
It is 7:30am.
* somewhere in here I have work calls, creative writing, original ideas, digital learning, 3 loads of laundry, gardening, filling carts with things I don’t buy and straightening up. Maybe a shower. Meh. Unlikely.
10:15am: Doorbell rings. It’s the Instacart order I placed a week ago. $200+. It’s all substitutions for what I ordered. For instance, organic pasta you want? You get Kraft extra cheesy. Want frozen strawberries? You get a can of peaches. Eggs? No eggs for you!
Begin to sanitize groceries.
It is now 7pm.
Boys played outside in the sprinklers. Follow wet footprints to fort in living room. They are both asleep. I gently wipe the rest of the poop off Hudson’s cheek and pull the play-doh out of dear Dempsey’s nose. The stepson’s karate hiii-yaaahs ring out in the background like mating hyenas.
I drink half a glass of stale Pinot Grigio and fall asleep full of worry and wonder. All the things that I can’t control spin around my head.
Two little boys crawl into my bed. They are calm and sweet and still. I somehow still smell dog poop though. Goodnight.
3am. Husband enters after working too many hours straight. He will acquire 11 hours of uninterrupted REM sleep. I fall back asleep dreaming about what it would be like to have REM sleep.
“Mom. Mom, wake up. I let the dog out but then let him in because he had something in his mouth. I think it was a mouse. It’s inside but I don’t think it will run around.”
It begins. Again.
And then it hits me. People are losing loved ones. People I care about have said their last words to beloved family. Over 60,000 Americans have perished from a relentless virus—many died alone. I believe that maybe I’m incredibly lucky.
Actually—I’m certain of it.
I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe less poop. And more eggs.
It’s not easy right now. We are being tested and challenged in numerous ways. But if we have our health and we have each other, we are crazy blessed.