Sick days

Many people sent email yesterday to find out if we were affected in any way by the deadly shooting at a local mall here in Salt Lake City. Thankfully, no one we know was harmed, and I cannot imagine what the families of the victims are going through. We live very close to that mall and heard the storm of helicopters circling overhead for several hours that night. I don’t know what to say about it.

Leta actually caught a stomach bug that night and has been in and out of a 102 degree fever since then. Yesterday she threw up for the first time in her life, or I guess, the first time while she was awake, and I handled it exactly like you might expect me to, with monumental ineptitude. Jon had just left to take Chuck for a walk, and she and I were lying on our bed watching our fourth hour of Barney when she started to panic. I pulled her closer to me to try and calm her down when I heard a mysterious rumble in her belly. Like the thunder in a tornado cloud that says YOU ARE TOTALLY FUCKED.

Two seconds later she sprayed a shower of vomit four feet across the bed, and because I haven’t ever had to deal with this my immediate response was not to run for a towel or to move things out of her way. I just sort of sat there and watched it all happen, stunned by the force with which she had shot the puke through the air, and then I heard myself say, “Don’t! Stop!” As if it was a trick I didn’t want her performing in the house.

Later after I had cleaned her up and changed her out of her soiled clothes, I brought her back into the bed so that she could lie still while I wiped up the rest of the mess. I didn’t dress her in any clean clothes in case she puked again, and she looked over at me as I gathered up the sheets and said, “I got no shirt on!” She was very excited about it, but because she was so weak and tired and cranky she said it with a quivering, heartbreaking tone, with her eyes closed, like she was an old drunken blues singer whose wife done kicked him out of the house.

I remember being about seven or eight years old, and once when I was sick my mother had to keep an important appointment. Instead of dragging me along she dropped me off at a neighbor’s house where I crawled up onto the couch and fell asleep. I woke up having to vomit, and instead of running to the bathroom I walked to the front door, flung it open and puked all over the welcome mat. The neighbor was horrified, and when she asked me why there? I told her that I thought it would be the right thing to do. That I didn’t want to mess up her bathroom.

I wanted to be the valedictorian of puking.

I started laughing about this memory yesterday while I was lying with Leta tucked under my arm, and thinking that she was in on the joke, she started laughing with me. We lay there together for several minutes laughing about puke, and then she reached up her finger, poked my right cheek, and said, “Mama, you’re cute.” And then then she fell asleep on my chest. Holy shit, do I ever recommend having kids.