Pain in the Neck


As you know, Wes has been out of town this week for a conference.  And as you could probably guess (because such is life, y’all), before he even left, there was drama. 

It all started when I asked the girls to take a picture together.  Just one, nice picture of them in the dresses they were going to be wearing for spring pictures at school.  It was right before we needed to leave to get them to school, and I figured that once they got there and had breakfast, Emma would somehow manage to get chocolate milk all over herself, as she does most days.  To make sure I’d have a picture without chocolate milk prominently displayed on that adorable dress, I clicked a few on my camera. 

And then, Emma hugged Ana.  And Ana began shrieking.

Somehow, that hug pulled a muscle in her neck.  How?  I really don’t know.  But she was practically hysterical.

Wes, who was one foot out the door to leave for his conference, told her that maybe she should stay home from school.  This made her even MORE hysterical.  (She really enjoys school.)  So, we took her up to the school and let the school nurse know what was going on.  And then?  Not even two hours later, I got a call telling me that Ana needed to be picked up.

At this point, I began to worry that it was something worse than a pulled muscle.  Spinal damage, meningitis, early-onset paralysis — oh, yeah, I was on the Mommy ledge, freaking out, y’all.  Too bad Wes wasn’t here to talk me down, right?  Wrong, y’all.  Because he was already on the adjoining Papi ledge, freaking out via phone in Dallas more than I was freaking out here at home!

“Jenn, I can come home right now,” he said, “RIGHT. NOW.” 

And honestly?  It was tempting.  I don’t like it when he’s out of town anyway, but having him home to help deal with a child who couldn’t stop shrieking about her neck every time she moved… well, it was tempting.  But I told him to stay in Dallas, to be totally there for the conference, and to not worry.  I made a doctor’s appointment, propped Ana up where she could sleep without moving her neck (seriously), and got about two hours of sleep because I kept getting up to check on her. 

(Meanwhile, I wasn’t getting anything done around the house.  Dog hair everywhere, dirty clothes abounding, dishes in the sink, grass about a foot tall in the yard, and no groceries in the fridge.  I am an AWESOME homemaker, y’all.  How could I be anything different, though, with my tiny girl constantly bleating, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” from her princess-like perch on the couch?  Exactly.)

We took Emma to school the next day then drove to the doctor’s office, where the doctor concluded, after a series of odd reflex tests and lots of touching and pushing that it wasn’t a spinal problem — just a pulled muscle.  Whew!  I was so thankful.  So, so thankful.

I brought Ana home and gave her some ibuprofen, then tried to get some work done around the house before Emma needed to be picked up from school.  I couldn’t get much done, though, because Ana began complaining of a tummyache.  We went on to the school to get Emma, all while Ana continued complaining, more and more the closer we got to home, until finally, we arrived home, she jumped out of the car, and burst through the front door yelling that she was going to throw up.

She made it to the bathroom, praise God.  But because she couldn’t bend her neck, she threw up ON the potty instead of IN the potty.  I was in there, being a patient and merciful caregiver, of course… and by that, I mean that I kept shouting, “Holy cow, Ana!  Aim for the hole!  AIM FOR THE HOLE!”

Just as Ana finished throwing up everything she’s eaten over the past six and a half years (for real, y’all), Emma breezed by and found me and Ana both covered in vomit and studiously observed, “Did Ana throw-ded up?”  Well, someone did.  And how! 

“Emma,” I said.  “I need you to go and look under the kitchen sink and see if you can find a yellow caninster of bleach wipes.  Can you do that?”

“I can do that for you, Mommy,” she informed me.

And because I believed her, I went ahead and got Ana in the tub, bundled up all the barftastic clothing, and began mopping up the mess with towels.  Five minutes later, there was still no Emma. I hung my head out the door and yelled, “Hey, Em!  Any luck with those bleach wipes?”

A pause.  “What?”

“Have you found the wipes?”

Another pause.  “Wipes?  Like baby wipes?”

I counted to ten.  It didn’t help.

“WHERE ARE YOU, EMMA?!,” I screeched.

“IN FRONT OF THE KITCHEN SINK, MOMMY!,” she screeched right back.

I counted to ten.  Again.

“Do you see the yellow canister?”

“I don’t see it!”

I wiped my feet off as best as I could, then stood on a clean towel and scooted my way across the floors into the kitchen.  (Didn’t want to contaminate everything!)  When I got there, Em was sitting in front of the kitchen sink, staring right at the yellow canister of bleach wipes.

“Emma,” I said.  “This is it!”

A blank look.  “Oooooohhhhh.  Well, Mommy, it –“

Then, from the bathroom, “I feel sick again, Mommy –“

And because I was ready to flip completely out on my two children, thanks to my two hours of sleep and the mounting hysteria all around me, I did what any rational woman would do.  I wiped the vomit from my eyes (oh, yeah), picked up my phone, and posted my situation to Facebook (lol!), along with the promise that I would kiss the first person who brought me a Coke and took these children somewhere far, far away.  (Okay, so I didn’t write that last part.  But I thought it!)  The hope that someone would answer my SOS was enough to propel me back to the bathroom where I sanitized everything, got Ana dressed, and treated both of my children (because Emma started following me around at this point) with the utmost patience and kindness.  Seriously, I did.  And it took Jesus living in me to do it, y’all.

Right after I got cleaned up, our doorbell rang, and an angel of mercy from our church was there with a whole liter of Coke (hallelujah!) and a roll of Rolos (HALLELUJAH!) for me.  “Go into the closet when the kids aren’t looking and eat all of these by yourself!,” she said.  Done and done.  Thank you, Sharon!  You were a blesssing to me on a very unblessed day!

Thirty minutes later, two more angels of mercy arrived to take Emma to church.  Emma was thrilled to go with them and may one day turn in her Faulk card and become a Mahaffey, all because they bought her Cheetos.  (Doesn’t take much to win her love, y’all.)

We all slept well that night, and the next morning?  Life was back to normal.  Until this afternoon, after a full day of “fun day” activities at the school, when Emma had an issue in the bathroom at home that resulted in changing her shirt, washing down the potty (again), and discussing proper, polite terms to apply to parts and their assorted by-products (holy cow, y’all) in times of crisis and calamity and how NOT to deal with said crises and calamities by just freaking completely out and putting your tiny hands right in the big middle of —


In conclusion, this week was, very literally, a pain in the neck.  No, really. LITERALLY.  Because it all started with a pain in the neck!

Come home, Pastor.  And never, ever leave us again!

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