Kathy Bohannon

Treading water

Things have surely changed.

I look back to the days when we were raising our kids and the illustration in my mind is of an eager puppy treading water. Huge eyes, paws flailing, excited but also looking for something — anything, to grasp onto.

Fast forward to today.

By comparison to days gone by, Ninja Man and I typically have a much slower pace. Instead of just keeping our head above water, we are more like a couple taking a Sunday afternoon stroll in the park. That is until things get crazy. And last week, things got crazy.

We had plans to drive to Newnan for our grandLittle’s second birthday. The idea was to leave on Friday night, visit Saturday and return to Savannah on Sunday. By Tuesday, my errands were run, the house somewhat clean, the laundry was done and it would be rather pleasant to make the four-hour trip.

Then we received a call that Ninja Man’s uncle Bill Eanes passed away. This aunt and uncle, along with the cousins, are a particularly close part of our family. Would we drive to Pensacola? Would he fly there then to Atlanta and meet me in Newnan? Would he drop me (and our dogs) off in Newnan and drive on? Would he fly and I stay in Savannah, celebrate the baby birthday later in the month? Would we get a house-sitter for the pups and drive to Florida? The options seemed endless. First, we prayed in thankfulness for having options. Then we decided to do it all.

Our trip took us first to Newnan, arriving very late on Thursday night. Friday morning we left the pups with our daughter and went to Pensacola so we could attend the visitation. We returned to Newnan in time for the birthday on Saturday and with pups snoozing in the back seat, we drove back home to Savannah on Sunday.

More than 1,100 miles, three hotels and hours upon hours of travel time later, we arrived home about 4 p.m., unloaded the truck and threw the first load of laundry into the washer.

About 150 miles before, my “plan” was to crash on the sofa or my recliner as soon as we got into the house. But things don’t always go as planned. It was such a crazy time, driving four to five hours a day, having schedules to arrive before visitation was over then get back from Florida to Georgia in time for the birthday, I thought I would be too tired to do anything else.

We unloaded the truck, and with everything in the house, I went to put our toiletries away. It was then I realized our bathroom needed a scrubbing from top to bottom. It could have been the hours on the road talking, but when Ninja Man came in to drop off my cosmetic bag, I told him to “put it in that chair. I’m cleaning.” He stood there, blinked, and set the bag down. He knows when I’ve gone over the deep end, and the person scrubbing the countertop and sinks was not the woman he just spent more than 16 hours with in the truck.

I scrubbed and scrubbed. I still had my cellphone and keys in my pockets and hadn’t sat down from the trip, but I’d been sitting for nearly five hours so it didn’t matter. That bathroom was going to shine. I scrubbed harder.

About an hour later the bathroom indeed sparkled. It was heavenly. I took off my gloves, walked into the living room, spied my recliner, and nearly fell into it. This puppy was finished treading water. It was time for my stroll in the park.

I took a deep breath and caught the pleasant scent of the lemon fresh cleanser that had spilled on my shirt. I closed my eyes. I was exhausted. I thought of when we were younger, racing from ball practice to horseback riding lessons. The pace would have been a breeze back in the day.

Just as I was about to doze off, our son called, reminding me that I had promised a week ago to keep the grandLittles on Monday and Tuesday. I smiled, knowing in this quiet, easy time of our lives this puppy had a bit more paddling to do.

* * *

(Kathy Bohannon is a regular contributor to The Newnan Times Herald. She is a blogger, crafter and the author of two books: “Dyson the Terrible Puppy” and “Gardens of Savannah.” Both can be found at www.barnesandnoble.com .)

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