Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bad Hand

My oldest had the week off. None of his high school vacations mesh with his sibling’s elementary school, and most of his friends are out of town. Before he went up to the snow with his dad and brother all he wanted was to sit with me and watch all of season 3 of Lost. I am suddenly his only pal. This is a huge shift, and I’ll take it, though I did have scads of other things I wanted to do. I had started painting his brother’s room and needed to finish so he could move back in. There were books stacked on the dining room table I wanted to sort through and take to the used bookstore. I needed to buy mulch.

Now my boys are up in the snow and the youngest is welded to my side. She had an episode of acid reflux. The burning feeling sent her into a panic and I pick her up early from school. The tears and fear have increased the raw feeling in her throat so now we are doing deep breathing and she is in bed with me drawing and writing in her journal. She makes a list: relax, breathe, drink water, eat saltines … Her drawing shows a knife going into her stomach and fire in her throat. She can’t swallow pills and it sends her into another panic when I try to put one in her applesauce and it doesn’t work. It was the beginning of our girls only weekend and she was not up for much more than snuggling in my bed.

The phone rings and it’s my middle son. I’m happy to hear from him, but I’m not so delusional to think that with endless pizza and violent movies he should think to call me just to chat. “Hi Mom, I broke my arm.” He’s thirteen and vague on the details: ducked a snowball while snowboarding, x-ray, splint, Tylenol, out for the lacrosse season. “Guess I’ll get my French homework done. Here’s dad.” Dad is even more vague. “He’s fine. Don’t worry.” I know I won’t get details until I can physically corner one of them.

I’m fanned out like a bad gin rummy hand.

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