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The word of the day arrives in my inbox, just as I sit down here to write about how my son threw up last night, and winter won’t end, and how completely bedraggled and exhausted I look and feel lately.

Ugsome: to cause fear, loathsome.

I’ve been living in a veil of not-quite-myselfness for the past month. I’m here, but I’m cold. I’m here, but I might have a fever. I’m here, but I just want to go back to bed. I’m here, but…did I mention my son threw up last night? Did I mention, my husband (who rarely succumbs to illness) just texted that he’s feeling himself crashing too?

Ugsome has some perfect timing.

I just read that there’s a winter storm warning issued for Hawaii. And so, the cold, gray, ugsome rot of January has spread itself across the country (where school buses are stranded in Atlanta,) across the Pacific, all the way to the places I daydream that I can run to. But I know, there is no escaping the snowy, gray clutches of January.

This winter is ugsome and it’s taking over my happy places.


Here, far from the drama of snowfall, where we live all year knowing full-well what we’re in for come winter, but we don’t move away – here, we’re attempting some low-key schooling today. Kindle Fires in full effect. Documentaries on the TV. We are quarantined.

In the kitchen, Evaline is wearing one of her Belle dress-up dresses for the 97th time this month. She assumes the persona, announces herself as “Belle” and spins around while I pour coffee. She hums to herself was she turns, babbles a soft little tune.

It’s a bright spot in an otherwise ugsome moment of January…until I realize the particular Belle dress she is wearing, is one that she has pulled from the laundry pile.

Because she pooped on it yesterday.

And though I want to stop her immediately, tear it off of her, and remind her that we don’t go into the hamper…she’s just so darn happy.

And really, the dried brown stain, it’s small, and on the hidden underside of the big poofy dress. She didn’t notice it. I can’t smell it. I know it’s there, but the dreamy smile on her as she wistfully dances her way around the kitchen, for just a minute, it gives me pause.

Sometimes, life is beautiful. Sometimes, life is ugsome, it’s poop.

But it’s never truly all one or all the other.

We just choose to see the beauty, or see the stain.

(And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a coffee cup to refill…and some laundry to do.)

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