It was a glorious day in New Jersey. The freezing rain pelted the tops of my head and momentarily froze my brain upon contact. I had to take deep, relaxing breaths after I got home from this morning’s harrowing school run. Though I did not pile into a tree or hit anyone else, I felt like Indiana Jane and the Suburb of Doom. Ploughing through frozen slush in the mini-van, I tried to keep an eye on the road through pellets of ice against my windshield. I avoided as many other drivers as possible lest anyone else swerve in my general direction without warning. Visibility was low and tension was way high. Somehow blasting the radio at teen-aged volumes made me feel more secure behind the wheel. The classic rock station distracted me from the short films of death previewing in front of my eyes. This weather blows.
And yet, I wasn’t in a hurry to return to my warm(ish), dry home for it had become a house of sick. Asher has a fever and has been attached to the sofa like a dryer sheet to fleece unable to tear his glassy eyes away from the television. Gabriella spent the better part of last night conducting an orchestra of chunder in our bathroom only to lie completely immobilized all day in bed. I failed to block out her tortuous sounds of biological upheaval throughout the evening leaving me tired from a night without sleep. I do not play house nurse very well. To be fair, the two of them require little when they are as pathetic as they are. If the weather were nice, I would have left them to stew in their own spores of sick, but I was stuck in the house, on call and on my own while Levi got a couple of hours of preschool after a delayed start. It would have been peaceful if it weren’t for the occasional plea for juice.
A few nights ago, I suffered from the same illness that struck Gabriella. She was less than empathetic. The morning after my volcanic episodes, I told her that I was still feeling fragile. She countered with, “We really need to clean out the play room.” I managed to find a reservoir of energy enough to fuel a ferocious tirade, but I’m not convinced that Gabriella understood how delicate I truly was. It’s not her fault that my people have learned to carry the world on our shoulders, suffer in silence and string together cliches in our darkest hours. How could she know? This morning when I asked Gabriella how she was feeling, she whispered, “Like crap.” And of course I said, “Sounds like the perfect time to clean out the play room.” She was not amused, and I quickly ran out to get her some ginger ale.
Apparently, January 24th is the worst, most depressing day of the year, according to British psychologist Dr. Cliff Arnall. He actually calculated variables like weather, debt, time since Christmas, etc. to determine that we are at our most low on the third Monday of January, the 24th. And he did this fancy math in the name of PR to help companies promote travel packages. Feeling down after Christmas? Have you let your resolutions slide, already? Does your life generally suck? Book a vacation, why don’t you?
Well, I read this article only after getting home after my car took a wrong turn on the way to preschool and ended up driving around Reykjavik. And it was shortly after I had removed all the layers, defrosted and delivered a mango juice to my ailing son that I began plotting trips over the coming months. Must get out of town over President’s Week. Don’t forget to book air fare for a Bar Mitzvah in April. And somewhere in between those two dates, Gabriella and I will be celebrating a 10 year wedding anniversary. We may not make it to a sandy beach any time soon, but there is adventure in our future; hopefully enough to get us through the most miserable time of the year. I’m also looking into purchasing a portable phototherapy light to turn my frown upside down.
Good luck on the 24th! Here's hoping we can all beat the odds.