Last night -- 10:25pm: I go to bed with the intention of spending some quiet time with my husband. As I reach the hallway landing, Kyle races out of his room, wearing that confused and upset look that marks the face of a child suddenly roused from sleep. At first I mistook the countenance for one of chagrin for being caught out of bed, so I said, "It's okay honey," and then I noticed the urgency as he paused to address me, and I said, "Go -- go," directing him to the bathroom.
As he reached the bathroom, he left evidence of the problem on the tiled floor. I followed him in.
"I threw up," he said on the verge of tears. "It got on Blankie. Can you wash her?"
At this point my heart broke along with his. I encouraged him to wash his face and hands while I went to his room to survey the damage. I cleaned up and got his bed ready.
He got into bed, and I gave him a towel to hug in Blankie's absence. I also placed a bucket beside his bed and instructed him of its purpose (Kyle has an overactive gag reflex, but this is his first bout of dealing with this type of throwing up). Then I got in bed and read and waited.
Thirty minutes later, and again twenty minutes after that, I met him in the bathroom. One time he had carried the bucket along for his short walk to the bathroom.
This morning he still is dealing with the bug, but from the other end. I'm hoping that my thorough handwashing and frequent wiping down of all surfaces with antibacterial wipes will prevent further infestation.
I've had recent flashes of realization that he is growing up as I've observed his increasing maturity, and this little illness has clarified it. He used the bucket (and due to evidence I found this morning, it appears that he used the bucket once on his own in the night). He didn't fuss too much as he waited patiently in the middle of the night for me to ready his bed. He (begrudgingly) let a towel stand in for Blankie, although she was the first thing he asked for when he woke up.
When a mom goes to bed, we never know for what we'll be called into duty in the night or when we awake. It could be sickness, a forgotten homework assignment that is remembered that morning before school, or perhaps our role will simply be that of drill sergeant, inspiring the troops to get moving to tackle whatever the day holds. Sometimes we bring good news, and sometimes we have to share bad news, like this morning when I had to explain to Kyle that we wouldn't be able to go to the mall today, as we had planned.
But it's all in a day's work -- a twenty-four hour day's work.