If you ever need an in-your-face reminder of just how a-typical your almost-sixteen-year-old, see what he does when he’s sick. Rojo came down with a nasty cold and generously shared it with me. We spent the next three days coughing, sneezing and blowing our nose so much we went through not one, not two, but three boxes of Kleenex in as many days.
Rojo watched “Dora the Explorer.” Rojo watched “Lilo and Stitch.” Rojo watched shows aimed at the preschool set for three days straight. When he wasn’t playing ice cream truck songs from YouTube on his iPad. And hugging Elmo, his “son.” And wearing his Sesame Street T-shirt that used to be mine but I gave to him on one condition “It’s just for sleeping in.”
He was so calm that for three blessed days the constant thumping, tapping, humming, that characterize our house when he’s home, stopped. When we’d both be so bored we could scream, we’d go downstairs and he’d help me make tea. He’d pick my mug. He’d pick my tea bag, and when I’d absent-mindedly move to the couch forgetting the tea we just made, he’d pick it up and bring it to me. Carefully. And super sweetly. With a smile on his face that beamed pure unconditional love for me.
On Tuesday he felt well enough to go back to school – I felt, if anything, worse, so the timing was perfect. Except it wasn’t perfect.
I found myself alone, with nobody to say, “Your nose is running like a faucet.” Nobody to say, “You’d forget your head if it weren’t screwed on.” Nobody to bring me my tea and smile.
He wasn’t here, and I missed him.