life, motherhood, parenting, sick

On falling leaves and emergency room visits

Leaves are falling from the sky onto the deck of our house. The service people come to mow our lawn and trim our hedges and blow these leaves. While the whole lawn tending business is strictly a job and not a hobby for them, I do see the special gleam in their eyes when its time to blow the leaves every which way. It’s the same gleam my son gets doing something special or incredibly cool.

Still, the work seems so pointless. In the shaded woods of my backyard, the leaves constantly shed brown and orange to the earth. Just moments after the workers leave, the deck, sidewalks and playgrounds are once again covered with leaves. 

Waleed got quite suddenly sick last night. He couldn’t keep anything down. Not even a few sips of water. As he’d had a tumble from our new breakfast table earlier in the evening, and the vomiting was continuing with no end in sight, mid-dinner, we took him to the ER. Five hours and a diagnosis of stomach bug later, we headed home, zofran in hand. Bleary-eyed, I opened our door and felt disoriented by the sight before me. Plates, glasses, and cooking pots scattered on the kitchen counter. Crumbs on the floor. Cushions scattered every which way and toys underfoot in the family room.

Each evening I clean up as K takes the little guy up for his bath and gets him ready for bed. I spend twenty minutes putting everything away, loading the dishes, and wiping the counters. But today, due to the nature of our departure, I came back to the scattered leaves of my own home. I didn’t quite realize how constantly we work to upkeep and maintain a home that is remotely presentable. I didn’t realize I too am stemming the avalanche of leaves by the slimmest of margins.

And I realized, this is the nature of life. This cleaning and smoothing out of edges– both of the tangible, and the intangible spaces of ones heart– is where the vast chunk of one’s life is lived. Sure there are punctuated moments of brilliance like an exotic vacation or a fantastic promotion at work, but the general grit of life is lived in the quieter forgettable moments of life’s constant upheaveal where leaves are cleared and fall down yet again, and where children fall from table ledges and fearlessly climb up those very same perches the next morning. And its anything but pointless. It’s beautiful.

16 thoughts on “On falling leaves and emergency room visits”

  1. Thanks Anon

    Julia, I'm glad this post came at the right time for you!

    Natalie, thanks. He's better though not eating or drinking. . . working on it slowly but surely!


  2. Glad he's feeling better (how scary, though!) And, yeah. I've felt the same disorientation upon not doing my evening 'clean up' for whatever reason. It's jarring, but it's also such a lovely reminder. Thank you for this post–I'm going to look at the puddle of matchbox cars at my feet and the sifting of leaves outside in a whole other light for a few days.


  3. Oh jaanu! So sorry that W is unwell & inshAllah he gets better soon!

    And, only you could take the image of leaves and create such a stirring, cutting and beautiful insight into life.

    Love you!


  4. and loved your statement ….” I didn't quite realize how constantly we work to upkeep and maintain a home that is remotely presentable. I didn't realize I too am stemming the avalanche of leaves by the slimmest of margins. “…..


  5. Susan thank you for relating to the feeling!

    Ayesha, you make me blush, such kind words from a person whose insights I adore.

    Mystic, thank you so much, and yes, I'm sure that once this memory is a distant one it won't feel quite as traumatic as it does right now.

    Rachael, thank you so much!


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