Some Mockingbird

Zane became sicker tonight than he ever has before. He had been fine, then while I was driving home I heard his tiny cough in the carseat behind me as it turned harder and heavier. I glanced in the mirror to see the vomit stream from his mouth and start running down his face. It ran a ways.

It is enough to make you stop in traffic.

I cleaned his mouth and made sure his head was not leaning back at all. We were almost home and I drove the faster for it.

By the time we got home he was all smiles. I felt myself start to relax and justify what had happened with a number of possibilities. Atticus carried our things and I carried Zane as we walked through the cold and into the house. Atticus was very concerned.

Then my ease was erased as warm lava erupted from Zane’s belly, drenching us both and bringing tears to my boys. Children cry, it is accepted.

However, I do not accept tears brought on by pain and fear. Those tears are not welcome in my home.

They came uninvited and stayed through the discarding of our wet clothing and the arrival of our dry replacements.

And the next dry replacements.

Atticus and I lay with a sleeping Zane between us and watched Charlotte’s Web.

Before long I was laying with two sleeping boys, and still I was watching Charlotte’s Web.

Maybe I was feeling the sadness of my children. Maybe I was touched by the reinforcement of love that is the clinging hugs of sleep by a child that is sick and another that is worried for him.

Either way, I lay there amidst the love and concern of my children and watched the love and concern of a pig and a spider. Believe me, living the moment made more sense than writing it. I was melancholy, and I was touched.

That Wilbur is some pig.

Eventually I took Atticus and put him in my bed. We don’t need him having any more exposure to whatever ails his brother than he has met already.

Zane, between bouts of sleep and sickness, kicks against me and pulls me tight. It is frightening to have a sick child. It is going to be a long night.

It will be a long night wound in webs of sleeplessness.

Fade to scene, and paraphrase Harper Lee.

I will think of these days many times, of Zane and his being ill… and Wilbur and Charlotte. And Atticus. I will be in Zane’s bed all night, and I will be there when Zane wakes up in the morning.

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