My son called from his room at 1:26 am, the ringing phone throwing my heart at the ceiling.
“Mom, I think I’m dying. I can’t fall asleep.” I think I’m dying, too. Of a heart attack. “I’ll be right down.”
I felt his forehead. “You’ve got a fever. I think you have what I have.” I gave him one his sister’s Tylenol her dad sent with her last night—she’d had a tooth repaired after a chip and it was sore. Oh my god, all my kids are old enough to have full-strength pain relievers. “Here, sit up and take this. It’s just the flu.”
“Did I get it from you?” he asked. I think if he’d had the strength that would have sounded almost accusatory.
“Not in the four hours you’ve been here. It takes longer than that to incubate. But thanks for thinking of me.”
I took one, too. When I woke up from a dream in which we all had fur and tails like mice and has no standing until we’d won a spar with the current tail-judo master, my neck was a girder and I was about a thousand degrees too hot. Besides, that mouse was really doing a job on my self-esteem because I couldn’t land a blow on his belly. Think Ripred from Gregor The Overlander.
On my way back to bed I heard a creak from Daphne’s bed and saw the light under her door. Oh, no. I opened up the Tylenol and shook out another pill.
Daphne was sitting up in bed, face flushed with a thousand-yard stare. Oh, goody.
“I knew it,” I said. “You didn’t look right when you went to bed.”
“Mom, I’ve been like this since midnight. I only slept two hours,”she said, as I felt her forehead.
“Yep, you’ve got it, too.” Earlier, I’d begged off from dinner out with their dad and them to celebrate Logan’s birthday. I was too glazed over to steer two tons of German engineering over the mountain pass. Hence their late-night arrival so they could wake here on Mothers Day.
I don’t think breakfast in bed is on the menu anymore. Limp, hot children maybe, but not a fresh, hot meal.
Did I mention Guy has it, too? He asked for the chocolate Hagen Daaz and a spoon as long as I was up. I handed it to him and picked up my iPad to write. I wasn’t interested in chocolate Hagen Daaz. I really must be dying.
3:40 am: the first child starts driving the porcelain bus. Just waiting to see who’s next.
Mid- hurl: “Happy—blergh—Mothers Day.”