It’s early. An hour at which no one should be awake and moving except paperboys and roosters. I’m lying in a small bed with my 3 year old Little Dude and the invisible flu bug he brought home from preschool, which he kindly and unintentionally shared with me.
He's tired, hot and achy but doesn't know how to express what his body is feeling. Facing each other, I notice he’s grasping one of his beloved Hot Wheels tightly in each hand. For strength or comfort, they are with him. As am I. I subtly turn on the white noise machine again, hoping it will coax a few more minutes of sleep out of him for his weary body. And mine, as well. I’ve gotten used to running on empty, but doing so while fighting off illness is a different battle. Another hour of sleep right now would be better than winning the lottery. And I could really use the money.
As the sound of artificial waves crashing upon a distant artificial beach repeats, I pick up my iPhone and sigh as I look at the ridiculously low numbers its clock is displaying. It's so early that my friends 3 hours ahead on the East Coast haven’t yet begun sharing their pictures of omelets or tales of getting stuck in traffic on Facebook to entertain me.
Resting our stuffy heads on fluffy adjoining pillows, I hope that the source of the flu was at least fun for him while being an evil conduit. Was it the swings on the playground or the school’s lunchroom? Or the grocery store cart’s handle? We’ll never know.
Though I hope for more rest, as I was just up feeding his newborn brother an hour ago, I know it's unlikely any time in the foreseeable future. As my eyelids bounce heavily, simultaneously trying to sleep and stay awake, I feel something rolling up slowly up my neck like a tarantula in a bad horror movie would. Thankfully it’s only a Hot Wheels monster truck cruising before parking on my congested scalp.
I put down my iPhone, as it needs rest too, and watch my son. He looks at me as we cough together.
This is bonding.