Yesterday, a Saturday about a week before my 45th birthday, I found myself driving around town with a container full of pee in my car cup holder. Pee as in urine. Not like in a travel mug, but one of those sample cups with lids they give your kids at the pediatricians office because they squeezed you in on a weekend morning during triage hours. And then your kid
refused to couldn’t pee after trying for an hour-and-a-half while you and the rest of the doctors’ office staff waited, patiently. So then you have to take the cup home for her to fill in the fantastical safety of her own glorious bathroom. You decide to drop your kid off, do ALL the grocery shopping since you were forced out of your house already anyway, come across every person you’ve ever met as you shop in pajamas, get home, yell for help unloading, pick up said kid with the cup of urine, drop her at a birthday party by noon (which is very early to start a sleepover party but God love those parents), before driving the sample back to the doctor’s office. And then when you get there the parking lot is strangely sparse and you remember the doctor told you they closed at 11:30 so please, please, please try to pee before you leave.
Your husband is out of town, you left the 11 year old in charge, this is the weekend after the first week back at school (I don’t remember my first weeks of school ever being so intense for my parents), and the weekend before this one was spent squishing in one last kamikaze family road trip because summer was too short, and you feel tired. By you, I mean I.
I idled in the parking lot for some time wondering if I aught to muster the strength to tentatively knock on the door of the closed office to offer the cup of pee to whomever answered; if it would do any good –or was it a federal crime–to leave the cup of pee in the building’s package delivery box; also, what is the expiration time-table for a cup of pee? When I realized the pee would most likely be no good by Monday morning when it would be discovered by an early arrival to any of the several businesses housed in the building, and that I’d be leaving a cup of pee with my daughter’s full name written on it in a public space, I sadly reversed and drove home, defeated.
Life doesn’t turn out the way you expected. How did I end up in Colorado, driving from here to kingdom come carrying around an unhelpful, tardy urine sample that’s not even mine?? Any blurry halation effects, brought about through old camera tricks that made your future imaginings nonspecifically glowy at age 25, consolidate into a very sharp focus of logistics 20 years on. My husband and I are now in full charge of satisfying all 5 of our children’s “Hierarchy of Needs,” plus more needs that Maslow didn’t even fucking think of: like the need to be in Ireland for work for a week at a time at the start of the school year and soccer season. And less, glamorously, like chauffeuring urine to a birthday party.
But then today I woke up early and felt like taking Max the dog for a walk: came back inside, ate and felt oddly very nourished after not feeling so good yesterday. I got some encouraging emails from some friends to whom I’d somewhat haphazardly sent my blog the night before out of boredom and a self-dare. Things clicked along pretty pleasantly throughout the morning, cooking breakfast for my boys, making contact with family and friends. No rush, no stress; it was kinda -dare I say- nice? On my way to pick up my daughter from her sleepover I stopped at Starbucks, and the guy in front of me at the drive-through had paid for my coffee, so I paid for the ladies behind me even though that made my latte-run twice as expensive. As I quickly drove off, praying to the introvert gods that those ladies wouldn’t catch up with me to say thanks, my chest inexplicably tightened and my eyes filled with water. “The world can still be good,” came a whisper, “Pee and all.”
The eccentric dad of my daughter’s friend offered us several forks-full of his many varieties of homemade sauerkrauts, which I graciously accepted and washed down with latte, even though I’m not a huge fan. He sent us off with a large, pungent mason jar full, which I will present to my husband when he gets back from his work trip next week. Mike will be home in time for us to go to a concert for my birthday weekend, where we will be the oldest persons in attendance. But age has some silver-linings because we don’t even need to worry about remembering to find a babysitter, because at long last we have a 14year old and, legally, they can’t arrest us for leaving her in charge. So there’ll be more concerts in our future.
Dump the pee, wash out the cup and hope you haven’t contaminated it, if that’s a thing? (I don’t know, I’m not a doctor.) Try again Monday. Without sounding too trite, if that’s at all possible–and actually, no, now that I see where this is going, it’s not possible but I’m still writing it–I’m going to try to view that cup of pee as half full.