It’s after 11:30. I am so very exhausted as my day began a little more than 18 hours ago. Every fiber of my being wants to crash into bed and enter that sweet, cool realm of darkness I have been looking forward to all day.
But not yet. Everyone else is asleep, my husband who has been awake even longer than me, who is on a train at 6AM not because he wants to but because it’s necessary to provide for our young family, my sick 4-year old daughter knocked out by a cocktail of Children’s Motrin and antibiotics, and my 8-year old gifted son who never goes to sleep before 11 but who is likely asleep only because he is starting to catch the evil virus that has already claimed the health of my daughter.
Not me. I’m still wide awake because now, it’s my time. To catch up on reading what I want. Chapter 3 of “The Sixth Extinction” that I downloaded how many weeks ago now? To window shop on the Internet. The boy needs new sweatpants since he can’t go more than a week without putting holes in the knees plus he does need a new bedroom set since he has outgrown the firetruck decor we picked out when he was 3. Better yet, I have some Nordstrom rewards points to cash in, plus an unspent gift card so I get to have some fun too! New shoes maybe?
I can take back the moments stolen from me during the day to plan. Summer camp season will be here before you know it. Math for the boy, singing for the girl, making sure there is no overlap in drop off or pick up times.
And writing, always writing to help wind down from the day.
My day didn’t really allow me any time to sit down for lunch and I just picked at dinner so now I will feast on a microwaved quesadilla and a bottle of Goose Island. It is divine and it tastes so good right about now. There are also a few cold leftover tater tots from the kids’ dinner that are begging to be eaten. They are cold but still salty and delicious.
Today I need more winding down than usual. In some ways the day was normal, my son went off to school, the husband off to work. But my daughter who has been sick on and off since the weekend woke up with a fever and a different sounding cough, the kind that makes you put in that call to the pediatrician. Thankfully we got an early appointment but belly breathing and gagging episodes 8 hours after the start of steroids and inhalers put us back into the doctor’s office. By the way, fast, belly breathing is never normal. I hated having to bring her back, the fears of being perceived as a paranoid parent present in my mind as I made the call and walked into the office.
But my mom instinct was raging just as hard as her fever was that something wasn’t right and it wasn’t. RSV-induced pneumonia was the verdict. I always tell my kids hate is a strong word but it’s totally appropriate here in expressing how I feel about RSV. It’s given my daughter pneumonia twice and resulted in an ambulance escort to the hospital for my son when he was 1 when he came down with RSV and had trouble breathing.
But I will play around for just an hour. I really do need that sleep after all. My girl needs constant care from me now and her next doctor’s appointment to check those frail lungs is less than nine hours away. Plus I know fevers fuel night terrors that she has been experiencing lately so I need to save some strength to deal with that. I know in another hour her screams will summon me to her bedside, to comfort her even though I know she will have no memory of my efforts in the morning. My son needs attention too as his neurological untypical self gets cranky when someone doesn’t pay attention to his nonstop NCAA basketball analysis which is in high gear now that we are a little more than a week away from Selection Sunday. He correctly picked Villanova to win it all last year so he is trying for a repeat performance on his bracket.
So off I go now, to turn off the garage lights, the front porch lights, to make sure the dishwasher is on. The coffee maker is ready to go and I need it to be. Because in just a handful of hours, the cycle starts anew. My hour of alone time plus some sleep need to get me ready for the curveballs the day will throw, because I know there will be a few. Is my daughter on the right antibiotic? Will my son deteriorate necessitating a trip to the doctor for him? And I have to be ready, glove in hand and all.