Minutes after I wrote my last post in early January, Chuck ran upstairs and said he felt sick. He covered his mouth with his hand—for dramatic effect of course—and sprinted to the bathroom.
One man down. (Loudly and with much fanfare, I might add).
Minutes after that, toddler Cam raced into the room and started doing a weird hiccup + half burp thing. I knew from experience that it meant one thing: toddler spew.
Second man down.
Two days later, Junior came home from school and said he wasn't feeling right. He'd already had the bug (around the time of my birthday), so I wasn't too concerned. Then he dashed to the bathroom and yep, you guessed it, yacked.
Third man down.
One day later, Everett got off the bus looking positively green. He'd already had the bug (on my birthday), so I didn't pay much attention to it. Then he grabbed the puke pan from Junior and proceeded to vomit.
Fourth man down.
That left me, the cheese, standing alone. I ran to the bathroom (what else was there to do?) and started jogging in place, humming the theme song to Rocky. I punched the air. I bleached the toilet. I did jumping jacks. I Lysoled the cat.
"You can do this! This bug won't take you down!" I shouted.
I called Chuck and boldly announced that "I am the one person who has not gotten this bug! I am woman!"
I had earned my bragging rights. I've had three children vomit in my bed on several different occasions. They've breathed on me. Whimpered onto my shoulder. I've laundered their soiled clothing. Fed them Jello through straws. And so on. And so on.
And then on inauguration day, I felt decidedly queasy. I texted Chuck an SOS while he was at work. Junior, Everett and Cam looked on (yes, everyone was home from school) as I finally got intimate with the puke pan I had so meticulously been cleaning for the last six days.
On television, the inauguration made for an interesting backdrop to my yack attack.
"Mom!" Junior and Everett cried. "Are you okay?"
I looked up over the brim of the pan and watched Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (see also Anita Hill) swear Mike Pence into office as Bill Clinton (see also Monica Lewinsky and/or impeachment) stood rows away smiling like a Cheshire cat. It was almost time for Donald Trump (see also lewd comments) to descend into the stands.
No, I definitely wasn't okay.
My three sons gathered around me.
"Get her ice!" Junior shouted to Everett.
"Yes! And she needs a popsicle!" Cam raced around their gangly legs, thrilled to be part of the action. When he saw his brothers pull the blanket over my feet, he threw me his stuffed bear.
"We'll get you water!" Junior and Everett shouted as they went to the kitchen. "We'll take care of you now."
And they did. With kindness, thoughtfulness and tenderness.
I may have been deathly sick but what I realized is that these little men have more class and dignity than some of our fearless leaders. It makes me proud. It makes me want to scream again that I'm doing my part. It makes me believe in all the reasons I ever had for wanting to become a mother.
Most of all it makes me sad and embarrassed. We have every damn right to demand better from them...and from ourselves. But hey, silver lining: No one's been sick in a week. Small victories, right?
I'll take them.