My kids are never sick (knock on wood, throw salt and turn around three times). Except for now. Maggie has been home with a fever all week, poor thing.
What this means, in addition to way too much screen time, multiple readings of Rainbow Fish, and yogurt for breakfast, lunch and dinner, is that I have been home all week with a sick child. Seriously, I didn't leave the house for two days. Not once. No fresh air. No clean underwear.*
Then, on the third day, I got to go to the corner grocer for some supplies and witness the astounding miracle of real adult humans moving about in public. The next day, still high on my recent exposure to the outside world, I also got a haircut and took my kids to see Toy Story 3. I paid dearly for it with much feverish whining and a serious case of popcorn bloat (me, not them).
All this is not so bad.
What's bad is when, on the fourth day, your completely delightful old friend from college comes to visit for the first time since the kids were born and you suddenly see your life in stark contrast to what could have been.
That's her on the far left. That's me, wearing pajama bottoms and pearls.
Her: Saving the world by doing important global peace-building projects with the U.N and other impressive NGOs.
Me: Trying to remember when I last administered the Children's Tylenol.
Her: Cocoa-colored linen suit with adorable flats.
Me: Ripped jeans, dirty underwear, clogs.
Her: Teaching at Columbia's graduate program in International Studies.
Me: Trying to teach my children to wipe their own butts.
Her: Hobnobbing with the rich, influential and powerful.
Me: Hobnobbing with two four-year-olds and the occasional corner grocer.
Her: Mother of one super-genius, chess-playing 7-year-old.
Me: Mother of four-year-old twins who try to impress guests by toppling the coffee table and throwing pirate hooks in the air.
I think you get the idea.
And I know that here I am supposed to write something about how worthwhile it all is and how I wouldn't trade anything for anything. But that's not true. I would trade being an unemployed stay-at-home mom (not the kids themselves, mind you; them, I like) for a career that required me to travel all over the world doing good work in a second. At this point I think I would trade it for a career that required me to get dressed in the morning and travel to downtown San Francisco.
All of which is to say that, when the time comes, I'm going to strongly suggest that my children don't major in English. Cause it's too late for me.
* having a sick kid does not preclude changing ones underwear, but really, why bother?