As the show comes to a close I hear footsteps on the stairs. I freeze. The footsteps get closer. Now they are on the tiled hallway floor.
I turn my head and see you stumbling toward me, the big stainless steel mixing bowl clutched to your chest.
"Mom, I feel like I'm gonna throw up." you wearily say to me.
"Okay, Tommy. Come with me, sweetie." I say as I set down my vices and devices.
I put my hand to your steamy forehead as we make our way to the bathroom. We sit in front of the toilet for a few minutes until I suggest you come and lie down on the couch for a little bit. You sip water as I text the latest development to my bestest friend and say goodnight. I turn on some cartoons and run my fingers over your forehead into your hair, watching.
After a while I give you some ibuprofen and a bit more water.
More watching and calming and tender rubs on the back.
I'm tired. I didn't plan on staying up this late. Especially coming off of such a sleep deprived weekend. But here we are. And I'm watching you.
You toss and turn on the couch, no longer watching the cartoons you normally love.
"Let me know when you feel like you want to be in your bed again, honey." I say to you, the child who loathes sleep.
You nod your head an let out a moan.
I check your forehead for the twentieth time and can tell your temperature is coming down already. Soon afterwards you tell me you want to go back to bed.
I help you off the couch, grab the big stainless steel mixing bowl, and head up the stairs after you. I tuck you in bed, show you where I am putting the bowl, and give you Lambie.
You are exhausted and brave. I lean down to kiss your hot cheek. This is what makes me a mama.
"Good night, Tommy. God bless you, I love you. Hope you feel better, angel." I whisper to you.
"Night mom. Love you too. Sweet dreams." you answer back.
I close your door as quietly as I can, turn, and walk down the dark hallway and back downstairs. I make the coffee so it is ready when daddy gets up in the morning, I make sure each door is locked. I blow out the candles, turn off the tv, and fold all the blankets. I pick up all the shoes, the pillows, and the books. I turn off the lights and make my way back upstairs to my bed.
Slowly and quietly I creep into the room, peel back the covers, and slip in gently so I don't wake him.
And I wait.