On the Cusp

What happens when one child brings the stomach bug home from his third grade class on a weekend when all six of his family members are together not only because it is winter but also because two of the four children have

birthdays that weekend?

Vomitfest 2016.

As of this moment, four of the six have been struck down. My now 15 year old and I have remained standing. And since yesterday was his birthday and I haven’t gotten sick, I’m the solo clean-up crew to the “festival.”

Hey, it could be worse, right?

A few times yesterday, and even early this morning as I caught the tail end of my  daughter’s puking (Happy birthday, Greta), I felt a shade of Sympathetic Barfing Syndrome. Lucky for me, I practice yoga: I was able to quiet my mind enough to reason my way out of joining her.

Side note: My children rarely get sick. When they do, they rarely vomit. Yet, they are all very “good vomitters.” While unlikely to be something they will promote as a strong character trait on their college applications, I think there’s something valuable in being able to face something unpleasant with grace, dignity, and calm. Unperturbed and in a matter-of-fact way, they all rinse out their mouths and step away from the toilet which they managed to hit with the skill of a trained archer.

Even as I coach myself not to join their festival of partially digested food and stomach acid, I have that flicker in the corner of my eye that I might be next. I might be chosen. I might be on the cusp.

My looming fear got turned on its head when I checked my “author’s” email this morning. The last time I looked at it was Friday afternoon — before pestilence came into our happy home.

Right there, in my inbox was this:

Thank you for your submission! 

It’s official: your words have somehow inspired our hearts and we’re accepting your piece for publication.

My thoughts of my daughter spending her birthday with her head over the toilet evaporate upon reading those words.

My Friday midday submission to this online journal was a fluke. A friend of mine sent me a link to and article which was published there. I went to the website, poked around a bit, and saw a little tab at the top that read “WRITE.”

Well, I’m a “writer,” right? So, I clicked on it, read the “rules,” “guidelines for submissions,” pulled a blog post from here, edited it to their specifications, and hit “send.”

I wasn’t expecting a reply that day. In fact, I’m not sure I was expecting a reply at all.

Why?

Because I know that this online journal has a large readership. Reasonably, one can draw the conclusion that there are lots of writers clicking “WRITE” and hitting “send.”

When I submitted to the journal, I didn’t know the “real numbers.” I didn’t care. I thought what I wrote would fit the publication and said, to myself, “Why not?”

Guess what: the journal’s Facebook page has drawn 1,161,214 people to click “like.”

I blinked hard seeing those seven digits and two commas. Then, I felt that flicker in the corner of my eye drop into my gut. The thought of seeing my photo and my words in a journal that has that number of readers almost caused vomiting,

So while I think I might avoid the stomach bug, I cannot guarantee that my thoughts won’t tangle up my stomach so much that I am also taking aim into a porcelain, water-filled bowl.

Because the very thought of all of it means I’m might be on the cusp of something else.

P.S. I will share the specifics when my piece “goes live” in the next week or so. But I’ll give you a hint:

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