I trudge wearily upstairs, a measuring cup with 2 tsp medicine in it. Pattu looks at me, her cheeks red with fever. She gulps down the medicine as she has been doing the past three days and washes it down with a sip of water. I tuck her back in and get back to the kitchen. The grinder hums, crushing the lentils and rice into a savory batter. The stove needs a good clean, the sink is littered with dishes too big for the dishwasher.
Puzzle pieces are scattered all the way into the family room. I feel a frisson of anger. I scoop the pieces up and mull throwing them in the trash. Better sense prevails and I put them away from reach. The day started promisingly enough. It seemed like nothing could put a damper on my excitement as I counted the hours down to turning forty.
Breakfast went from a quick meal to something that stretched out for an hour or more. I stood folding two rounds of laundry and feeling antsy. The cheer evaporated as the little irritants piled and snowballed into a huge lump in my throat.
I cancelled dinner plans, stuffed tiny toys, lip balm, bracelets into stockings. checked in yet again on the sleeping kids and asked Ammu to clean up her playroom. I sat down beside the tree and fingered the wrapped packages beneath it. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and let it all go.
There is nothing I can do about sickness other than dole out medicine, cuddle with my children and hope it will all pass. There is nothing I can do about making other people live up to my expectations. Today will pass as will tomorrow.
I tell myself that the evening will be better. My daughters and I will bake cookies. We will set them out for Santa and sit under the twinkling lights and believe in the magic of the season. Perhaps, just perhaps, Santa might leave behind the gift of a joyous day tomorrow.