Originally published in the November 2016 edition of 605 Magazine.
I’ve always thought it quite odd whenever I have heard someone say “If only I could be a fly on the wall …” This particular turn of phrase usually means the speaker wants to covertly eavesdrop on an event or conversation by becoming a fly. But, I’m always wondering; Why would you want to be a fly? Why not some other small, more cleanly, less-demonic creature? I hate flies. I find them to be useless, disgusting, vexing creatures. And so it comes as ironic that I learned a valuable life lesson via a poor fly a few weeks ago.
It all began when my husband sweetly asked months in advance if it would work for our schedule if he took a much-deserved four-day trip away. With naive enthusiasm and what would turn out to be false confidence in my heart, I flippantly said "Of course!"
As the four-day trip approached－as with most things on my calendar and basically tasks and events in general －I completely forgot about it. So it came as a shock when two days before, my husband gently reminded me. I gave him a blank stare. What trip? I vaguely remembered something about him going away, but that must have been a joke, right? Ok, husband, you got me! Big “LOL”! But as I quickly checked my calendar there it was: “Jon Away” with the menacing all-day banner spanning Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Uh-oh. Who agreed to this, again?
I feel like I should pause here and say, I am an independent woman, gosh darnit! I know I can care for my children AND not burn the house down for a long weekend. But for some reason, four days suddenly felt incredibly daunting. Nonetheless, I set out planning what I hoped would be one grand adventure for our four-day time together. On the first day, we went to an idyllic apple orchard, we baked, we napped, both the kids and I were filled with glee and I felt like, Boy, oh Boy, I am an amazing mother.
And just like anything else in life, pride truly does cometh before the fall.
The disasters started small. While out to eat, my toddler took one of his new tennis shoes off and threw it out of the car. I searched everywhere for a half hour－only to find it after getting on my stomach in the dirty parking lot and crawling underneath a parked car to retrieve it. No big deal. So, I had tar on my shirt? Survivable.
That same night, my daughter suddenly had a weird rash on her leg. And while rashes usually make me hyperventilate into a brown bag, I confidently breezed past it.
Next, I got a phone call from our realtor that we would be having a house showing the next day for our house that is (STILL) on the market. Again, I was optimistic. I could easily clean the whole house while everyone slept at night.
Except … no one slept. For some reason, my brag-worthy heavy sleeping children chose this weekend to sleep regress. The house was in shambles. And 30 minutes before the showing, I heard the unmistakable sound of my dog throwing up. Finding that extremely odd as he never does that, I quickly mopped up the mess only to walk in the living room to catch my daughter accidently spilling her chocolate milk all over the living room carpet. Now, at defcon 5, I was manically scrubbing the carpet and out of desperation I sequestered the children in my daughter's room, the last room to be cleaned.
As I entered her room, both children were sweetly playing and I began to do my speedy vacuum routine. I opened the curtains and raised the blinds and aghast in disgust, I noticed a dead fly on the window sill. I quickly turned back to grab the attachment to vacuum up the deceased little spawn of satan, and just as I had my back to it, my toddler son suddenly was standing at the window. As I walked toward him I noticed him pick up something and－like he does with everything－put it in his mouth. Not registering what just happened, I went to suck up the fly and … it wasn’t there. Confused, I looked everywhere and then in slow motion with horror music playing in my head, I realized what happened. I glanced at my smiling son and I knew.
Oh, Lord Jesus, take the Wheel.
He. Just. Ate. A. Dead. Fly. I repeat, a dead fly.
Horrified, nauseated, and frozen in terror, I screamed dramatically “Nooooooo!!!” But it was too late, my son smiled at me as if nothing horrific just transpired and nonchalantly went back to what he believed was a run-of-the-mill Friday.
The day and honestly the whole weekend went on with more disasters that I do not have room to document here. By the end of the four-day adventure, I submit to you, dear reader, I felt like I was failing at life. How could I not? My children were literally eating dead flies.
But the valuable lesson I learned was this: As a parent, not everyday is going to be a stroll through an idyllic apple orchard. I’m going to have “my kids are eating flies” type days. All I can do, honestly, in that moment is, admit defeat. Call it. Laugh it off, clean my window sill, buy a fly swatter, and start over the next day.
(And never agree to your husband going away on a four-day trip. Ever.)