“Look honey, up there, at the stars,” I said. I could hear the Puget Sound lapping less than 50 feet away from the cabin, as I loaded the wheelbarrow full of my haphazardly packed items. Did I really need to bring home this pillow? Could it be sacrificed the Gods of State Parks and Midnight Ear Infections?
I knocked on the cabin next to me, “Dad? Dad? He’s sick, can you help.”
The mismatched trio. One headlamp. One wheelbarrow. A purse, and some extra bags, holding hands up the long steep and winding hill to the car.
“I’ll text when I get home. I might stop at a hospital along the way if he doesn’t go to sleep. I was afraid this was going to happen.”
Four days earlier I had taken Potamus in for a chest cold checkup. Doc said that it’d clear up on its own in the next few days, and if it didn’t, come back in. I had gone because this was exactly what I was worried about: the midnight drive home from camping. I guess no amount of interventions can influence karma, the Universe, or the way things are supposed to be?
I pulled out of the state park into the island darkness. No GPS to guide me. No daylight to illuminate landmarks. A wing and a prayer. The evening too far gone for even Coast to Coast radio.
Everything smelled like garlic, and puke, and dribbles of urine. There was coughing, and choking, and my panicked “are you okay? tell me you’re okay,” as I hurtled 70 miles per hour down the freeway, coming to a screeching halt at the fortuitous rest area. New change of clothes. The thought: in nine months this will be my new normal. The zombie-like decision making, where I’m so tired I’m not even mad (which says a lot, because I’m often awoken like a bear), and all I can think is “please be okay.”
Where did this motherhood strength come from? Was it always there? Was it bestowed when he was born, like a gift from the Good Fairies?
I admire Boof, who didn’t freak out, when I unexpectedly barged into the bedroom at 6am and said, “I’ve been driving since 4. I need a shower and to sleep. Can you sit in the car with him. He finally fell asleep after puking.”
Eventually we dozed together, the babe and I. And now we’re heading to the doctor…