But, cruel though it may be, order has no place in parenthood. Or, at best, order seems relegated to the outskirts of parenthood, somewhere on the other side of the tracks, near the college years -- a lonely, overgrown, but utterly untouched relic, doilies placed just so on the dusty credenza, the fine china still stacked neatly in the sideboard. In 20 or so years, when I stumble upon order, nearly hidden by kudzu, maybe I'll feel a sweet pang of remembrance, or maybe I'll shudder and turn back toward the cozy shit pile I call home.
The point is that I was writing a totally different post for today. But my kid just got over a case of torrential diarrhea. Sixteen super-swell days of gastrointestinal distress finally came to an end that wasn't Pork Chop's butt. And just when I felt like celebrating, he started to cough. Then his nose ran. Then he spiked a fever. And then he got pink eye. And it's going to snow tomorrow. And I cannot even.
Normally, I like to have the blog up and running no later than lunch on Monday. But today? Well, in the blink of Pork Chop's crusty eye, lunch turned into dinner turned into almost bedtime. I can hear the low, mournful bonging of a grandfather clock down some long hallway of order.
In the past, friends who didn't know any better would share articles with me about life hacks: (Q) Want to make your home look tidy in 5 minutes a day? (A) Always make your bed and give the sink a scrub when you finish with the dishes.
And my response was: Who the hell doesn't make her bed every day? And, ew, you can't expect to get your dishes clean if your sink is dirty. "Tidy" sounds like a euphemism for "teeming with bacteria." God gave us bleach for a reason, you sickos.
Then motherhood happened. If I tried to vacuum, the baby would cry. If I tried to dust, the baby would cry. If I tried to do laundry, the baby would cry. If I cracked open a bottle of Windex, the baby would cry. I could, however, hold the baby as I sat on the couch like a beached manatee in a dirty nursing top. I could hold the baby and smell the trash becoming more powerful, threatening to burst from the can and Hulk smash my kitchen. I could hold the baby and gaze at my laptop, longing to bank online. I could hold the baby as I missed another appointment, didn't get to my phone in time, forgot to respond to an email, and left the wet clothes in the washer to mildew.
Nowadays, when guests come over, I just hand them a Lysol wipe at the door.
Pork Chop is a bit older. I get more dishes done and, most of the time, my family's underwear is clean. But bowls and boxers and blogs will always take a backseat to my kid. Right now, he's got his trusty stuffed elephant cradled next to his snotty nose as he sleeps. I feel a familiar itch; I want to snatch the elephant from his hands and drown it very hot, very soapy water. But he could care less about elephant's scummy fur. To him, that scummy fur just smells like home.
So I glance longingly up at order from the rusty front gate. The porch swing, long empty, sways lazily in the breeze. But I turn away. I just don't live here any more.