I got the phone call at 7:45 a.m. on the day after the election…
"You only have one today. Sweet Pea is sick, so you only have The Cousin.”
SWEET JESUS! Truly a bonus morning! An Obama win! A Yes on Prop 30! Todd Akin taking
a legitimate loss! Same-Marriage wins in 4 states!
But nothing, NOTHING spelled J O Y like the words “You only have one.”
It’s like don’t wake me up from this luscious dream I’m having. Just tiptoe around the bed, PLEASE!
The Cousin calls me “Bau lee lee” and I hear her calling my name from the back of the apartment
as soon as I arrive. She comes out wearing pink tights and a fresh little “onesy" with tiny grey elephants on it. She has severe “bed head.” She doesn’t want to brush her teeth.
She only wants to play with Bau lee lee. I dig that.
This morning, I put on a sad face and say to her, “Your cousin, Sweet Pea, is sick today.
She isn’t coming over.”
Inside, of course, I’m dancing so hard there's marks on the hardwood, but I’m way more mature than to let it show.
After the mom takes off, we begin our day with our morning beverages of choice and PBS’s
Curious George, followed by Super Readers and Sesame Street.
(Thank God Big Bird will continue to be partially federally funded.)
Today’s activity or “word up” in Elmo language is: E X E R C I S E.
We toss our bottles, get down off the couch and stand in the center of the room.
First word up: S W I N G.
We each extend our arms out, lock fingers of both hands together just like Pablo “The Panda” at bat and swing!
1 2 3 4 strong, big girl swings and we’re good to go for the next word up:
B O U N C E. We squat down at the knees and plunge upward like Blake Sheldon’s index finger…
1 2 3 4 5 times. WHEW! This feels great!
Final word up: D A N C E.
And boy can The Cousin get down! We dance way into the commercials, then take our boogie into the kitchen for our bowl of applesauce with cinnamon.
Life was going down a bump-free road until "the explosion" which The Cousin’s mom conveniently forgot to tell me had been happening for the last few days.
So, we're in the living room putting together an opposites puzzle, when B O O M!
Our eyes meet in a sort of emotionally troubled way, and without warning,
some sort of wheat-colored flood starts seeping out of her elephant “onesy”. I’m appalled.
I scoop her up under her armpits and whisk her to the changing table.
The smell is indescribable.
She looks terrified and, of course, I begin recalling child development courses I took years ago.
They repeatedly talked about not making a big deal about excessive poop; not making the child feel bad or like something grotesque and horrific is actually coming out of their body.
I begin saying things to The Cousin like, “It’s okay. It’s just poop. No biggie.” and “Everybody poops.”
But with my tee shirt up over my nose, I start singing the A B C song.
She knows that song, damn it, but she’s not joining in.
There’s shit everywhere; down her legs, up her back, on the changing table, on my hands,
and it’s rancid smelling. It’s way worse than Sweet Pea’s.
I start wiping with as many Wet-Ones as I can pull out of the package.
“Word up for me?” T R A U M A T I Z E D.
Soon I realize, we gotta get to the tub…
And a bathtub makes everything alright, doesn't it ladies?
The Cousin seems to adjust quite well in the tub. I seem to need a cocktail.
Sometimes in life, you know, you just make-do; roll with the punches...make Citrus Martinis from lemons and all that stuff. I recall my mom saying that and it's true. Whatever your profession or "calling" in life...whatever obstacles you face, you just fake it til you make.
You just make-do. Word Up: A T T I T U D E and more so, I M P R O V I S E.
I remember, 5 years ago, when the trailer park was my personal little piece of heaven,
we took a vacation with some pals to Mexico. We ended up driving our little Chevy S-1 over
to their house, which is situated in a very nice "low-crime" neighborhood. We parked the truck there for the duration of our trip. That was our first error in a trip, that would unforeseeably, host an endless string of comical errors.
But what we didn't expect was to find our truck's tailgate gone when we returned.
It was a clean job. No scratches on the truck. No dints or paint chips. Just a perfect steal.
Anyway, my partner was pissed but resourceful. She made-do.
You see there was a new prefab going in at 29, and when the workers were nowhere to be found, she, her jigsaw in hand, cut up a piece of 29's trailer siding to exact measurements, which made for easy sliding into the grooves of our pickup.
That damn thing's held up for 5 years now! It does have some chips, as prefab siding is made of cheap, toxic shit, and we sometimes live in fear that, with the right amount of wind gust,
that mutha might catch and fly up. But you know what? SO WHAT! It's not a big deal unless you're the guy behind us. We miss so much of life when we focus on the big deals.
Just like "Holy Shit! shit" isn't a big deal. N I K E word up: Just do it!
The important thing is taking action. Moving forward. Whether it's using our resources to make something useful. Whether it's handling an explosion whose point of origin is a diaper. Or whether it's just taking steps to make it through a difficult day...you can do it!
Word up: F O R T I T U D E!