I have spent the past three weeks as a houseguest.
And you know what they say about company and stinking fish.
Well let's just say I felt pretty putrid after I had passed the three-day mark. Sure I spread that three weeks out among lots of different family and friends, but I still couldn't help but feel like the one person who hasn't showered for several days and then has the nerve to push her sweaty way to the middle of a cramped-together summer crowd with temperatures at 100+ degrees.
I think part of this is that I caught a cold one week into the visit. Nothing is more keenly suited for testing the love of family members. One minute they are smiling and welcoming, planning outings, basking in the contentment of togetherness after a long time apart; the next they are discretely shewing their children away from the aim of your coughing, sputtering self.
If I hadn't been committed to staying for the duration of my son's sports camp I would have coughed my way home at the first tickle in my throat. Instead I was faced with the nearly impossible task of being together yet remaining apart.
This is not easy to do when there are a bunch of adorable nieces and nephews running about and you've already suffered a drought from their cuddles.
But I suppose I--and my family--should be thankful. At least I didn't have the stomach flu. Then I would have really stunk. Pun intended.
Searching for Irene by Marlene Sullivan
3 months ago