Thursday we rushed into the doc’s office, barely on time as usual. C developed a fever on Tuesday morning, but it stayed below 102 until two days later. Kid was burning up and when I took his temp it was 102.9. Didn’t seem like I could blame the fever on the fact that two teeth are breaking through anymore. And frankly, I’ve been on a hair trigger with him since the events of early January.
At the check-in counter I had C on my hip and was digging through my purse for the wallet when I glanced up. My breath caught in my throat. Walking towards me was a boy of probably twelve or thirteen. He moved with the awkwardness of a very young man who had recently and improbably shot up to over 6 feet tall. He was skinny as a rail, but his face had not yet lost the softness of childhood. His coloring was just like my boys. For a few moments until I caught myself I stared slack jawed at him. Suddenly there were tears in my eyes. I blinked them away and resumed the hunt for my debit card.
Babies and little kids fill the waiting room of our pediatrician’s office. Older kids seem to visit with less frequency. The tall boy caught me off guard, I wasn’t expecting to see someone his age. While genetics basically ensure neither of my boys will ever see a height of 6 feet the fact remained that the boy looked enough like my guys to be their big brother. What I saw when I looked at him was them in a decade.
The boys have been sick for what feels like months. They can’t seem to catch a break this year. Which means night time is pretty hellacious. Last night I was out of bed five times-twice for the big kid, three times for the little one. C has gotten worse since Thursday and was back at the doc’s yesterday morning. He has pneumonia. T has a cold and while he is doing fine during the day, he is a stuffed up mess at night and it keeps waking him up. So the boys are sick and Z and I are exhausted. We don’t remember what it feels like to get a good night of sleep, although we did have the one in December. There is a big part of us that cannot fucking wait until it is a few years from now. The kids will be sleeping through the night, so we will be sleeping through the night. The kids will be able to occupy themselves so we have a tiny bit of our lives back. Our day to day is a little brutal right now.
I already look at pictures of T when he was a baby and can’t remember the feeling of holding him in my arms. C is the last baby I’m going to have. And the truth is he isn’t a baby anymore. Through our sleep deprivation and general exhaustion Z and I forget to marvel at the wonderful parts of our current life. T wraps himself in his bath towel every night while curled up in my lap and he pretends the towel is a shell and he hatches out. C is a cuddler and is constantly trying to bury his face in our necks. They are small enough that we can scoop them into our arms and really hold their perfect and tiny bodies. They still let us hug and kiss them whenever we want.
So that big kid at the doc’s office.
Man, seeing him broke my heart. Because I am going to blink one day and my boys will be his size. I think I’m so ready to skip past this hard part and get into the meat of the parenting business. But that is bullshit. It’s going to go too fast, all of it.
I wonder if that boy’s mom caught a glimpse of C. If she did I wonder if her eyes filled with tears as well, if she considered how fast the years had gone, if she felt like her boy was C’s size just yesterday, if she was shocked to realize she couldn’t exactly imagine what it was like to hold him close when he was just 21 pounds and fit perfectly on her hip.
Z chasing the sick robots.
T hammering away during a visit to Daddy’s work.
Pneumonia didn’t stop C from hanging with his dad in the shop this morning.
What follows is a typical conversation concerning the physical health of our kiddos:
“Have you noticed the rash on C’s eyelids?” Z, “Nope.” Me, “Hmm, you should take a look. And I’m going to google it.” Z, “Jesus Christ, Karen. Don’t. Please. Don’t.” Me, “Too late….and the first hit for “rash on eyelids” involves cancer.” Z, “I told you.” Me, “I’m sorry. You were right. Navigating away from the search right now.”