Sound the Alarm!

Apparently, word spread that I wasn’t in church yesterday.

“What did you tell people?” I asked my husband.  I was in bed, still in my pajamas, destined for the flu.   

“That you were tired, really stressed-out, and probably getting sick,” he said.  Meanwhile, he collected the children to take them to an afternoon movie so I could sleep in a quiet house.

Then, my oldest approached me with her fist holding a crumpled up dollar bill.

“What’s this?”  I asked her.

“It’s my tooth fairy money from my piggy bank,” she said, very seriously as she put it slowly beside me.  “I want you to have it in case you need to go to Starbucks later.”  

I had husband love, daughter love, and then, and then, some completely unexpected neighbor love.

At 5:30, neighbors came over with dinner.  This amazing family brought me teriyaki pork tenderloin, fruit salad, green beans, rolls, potatoes, and ice cream for dessert.  I hadn’t been in the hospital or anything.  I didn’t even have a fever. They just heard I was tired and maybe getting sick.   

Then, this morning, another neighbor handed me a pack of those mocha frappuccino drinks to sustain me while working today.

“How did she know I love those?”  I asked my husband.

“It was either that or a bag of beef jerky.  You’re sort of easy to please.”  

It isn’t like I’m on my death bed.  I was just really, really tired from a long semester.  I sounded the alarm on Sunday morning, and the family and neighbors mobilized immediately.  I know what happens when a mom takes a day off.  All of a sudden, the whole operation jams up.   There’s a clog in the wheel; everything overflows.  She feels guilty and lazy because, after all, she’s still breathing and can therefore empty the dishwasher. 

But I had to do it.   Living with flair means sounding the alarm if I have to. It means receiving from a community.  I want to be strong enough to stay in bed and strong enough to accept help.  And today, because I know what it feels like to be loved with a meal, coffee, and a quiet house, I know just what to do if I hear that somebody else is tired and stressed out.

My neighbors have flair.  Bringing unexpected dinner and iced mocha frappuccino drinks to a tired woman is a beautiful, and so appreciated, form of flair. Community flair–that’s what helped me get out of bed today.

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