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Birthday, Mommy-Style

Two nights ago Cora developed the croup. She and I were up for a large portion of the night, her barking coughs and sad little cries as she tried to breathe through her constricted windpipe being the soundtrack of our wee hours. I rubbed homemade vapor rub on her chest, rocked her, put a cut-up onion by her bed to help her breathe, massaged her feet, and simply sat with her while she whimpered.

Then the cat threw up. Several times.

And as I knelt on the bedroom floor, scrubbing the carpet at 2 a.m. while Cora cried fretfully for me to get back up in bed with her, I sang to myself, “Happy birthday to me. . . happy birthday to me. . .”

Yes, that’s how I ushered in my birthday yesterday. A sleepless night tending child and beast.

I’d finagled my schedule a bit to have ALL my clients moved to other days; I had a modest list of errands to run –grocery store, bank, and so forth – during the day, but had high hopes that I could finish my errands in the morning, then return to bed for a nap and a good read.

That’s not exactly how my day went.

I got up, grumpy from the huge lack of sleep, and shuttled Maddie off to school. Then Cora and I went to the doctor to make sure it wasn’t bronchitis, received the croup diagnosis, and proceeded to run errands together in the car: drugstore, bank, back to the drugstore . . . not the easy, solitary day I’d anticipated.

Cora and I ended up back at home and I got to work making myself some pity cookies. My girl and I did some school work, read books, played games, and had a great deal of snuggling time. I fixed dinner, rushed off to teach my evening class, then came home at 9 p.m. to crash hard.

This morning Cora asked me, “Did you have a good birthday yesterday?”

I thought hard before answering carefully, “Well, it wasn’t my favorite birthday ever, because I’m never happy when my baby is sick. But I got to spend almost the whole day with you, which is always a good thing, and so that made it a great day.”

Cora nodded, content. “That’s what I thought.”

And I realized – I was actually telling the truth there.


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