Before the day was done yesterday, as my mother-in-law phoned to announce the cancellation of our weekend track meet due (in part) to swine flu, I jokingly remarked to her that it only took a minor pandemic to garner a relaxing weekend at home.
Earlier in the day, however, my mood was less than jovial.
I had been nursing a head cold since the exact moment that the press released news of the outbreak. Then, we had to make the trip downtown to finalize Baby Girl's papers as Chicago began closing schools due to probably cases of the virus. So, it is not an understatement to say that I had begun to panic a full 48 hours prior to yesterday when I had to take Baby Girl in for her follow-up appointment. It didn't help matters that apparently our medical clinic had gotten the panic memo, too and was prohibiting entry to their facilities until each arriving patient had been "interviewed". Upon talking with Baby Girl and I about our fever-less, cough-less ailment, we were re-directed to the Urgent Care section of the clinic for evaluation. Additional masked health care providers met us at the door and did the most helpful thing for a panicked mother and child---showed us to an out-of-the-way waiting room (so we wouldn't be around any sick people, of course) and left us to sit for a while.
As five minutes turned to ten and ten to fifteen, I began to think that this process wasn't going to be as quick and easy as it seemed and I had two preschoolers to pick up from school. Flagging down one of the masked faces, I inquired about our wait time. She returned quickly only to inform me that eight more people were scheduled to be seen ahead of us. Unable to wait any longer, I headed out to my car where Beulah and Hannah had been waiting for me: reading and listening to the radio.
For those of you who are knowledgeable about automobiles and such, you might predict here what happened next.
For those of you like me, you hopped into the car, frustrated with the situation and worried about the impending apocalypse, and turned the key in the ignition expecting to make a mad dash to preschool pick up and hearing only: click...click...click...click...click
The car battery was dead.
It was more than one mom could take in a day. I laid my head down on the steering wheel and between tears cried, "Nononononono--this is not happening." I pulled out my cell phone, which fortunately was charged and called the Captain.
Between sniffles and sobs, I struggled to explain my current crisis:
"I was taking Baby Girl to the doctors (sniff) and everyone at the door had on masks (sob). They're testing people for the swine flu (sob sob) and we waited for so long (sniff sniff) but I had to pick up the girls from preschool (sniffle sob sniff). Now I turned the car on and it just "click clicks" and won't go (soooooobbbbbb)."
The ever level-headed Captain assessed the situation, created a contingency plan and worked it out.
Then he called me back:
"It's okay. I'm on my way to get the girls now. Once the mechanic jumps the car, just come home. I'll meet you there."
Breathing a deep sigh of relief, I nodded in the affirmative into the phone.
"One last thing," he said with a chuckle, "Next time you call me in tears, please don't lead off with 'They're testing me for swine flu.'"
Sixteen years ago today, The Captain promised before a church full of friends and family (and a few West Point wedding tourists) to accept the role of loving me and our little family in a way that mirrors the love God has for us.
He's been watching my back ever since.