Last week, my son Angus came to wake me up. It was 11:30 p.m. and he had a fever.
Then, in the curious way kids have when they are feverish, he talked to me about the most random things – while I struggled to stay conscious – for two hours. Finally, mercifully, he drifted off to sleep.
As I crawled back into my own bed, right around 1:30, I thought to myself, Guess he’ll be staying home from school tomorrow. Before I had time to panic, something wonderful happened: I remembered. And it was like forgetting it’s your birthday until the moment someone brings out your favorite cake.
I realized that I was not going to have to write sub plans. In my recent past life, as a teacher, taking care of my sick kiddos meant an intensive amount of planning: Which parent would stay home from our teaching jobs? Which of us would get the car? What would my substitute teacher do? When could I get into school to drop off sub plans? Were there even subs available, or (as happened on multiple occasions), would my sick child have to survive in the back of my classroom on a nest of pillows and blankets? What would I do about the carpool after school? Etc., etc., etc.
When I woke up, rather than feeling sleep-deprived, I walked around in a haze of gratitude all morning. I didn’t have to worry about any of that. It was a pleasure (almost) caring for this febrile kiddo, just for the novelty of it all. This freedom to be a more flexible mom is one of my favorite things about my new job. I can’t believe I get to do this, I say as I pinch myself. Every. Single. Day.
My other favorite thing is that I can go to the bathroom whenever I want. If you’ve never been a teacher, or the subject of evil government experiments, you have no idea. Teachers all have bladders like balloons that have been blown up too big too many times, and are now deflated, wrinkly, and without any elasticity whatsoever. I am sure that, in autopsies, coroners say things like, “Well, I don’t know what killed this gal, but I bet she was a teacher! Check this out!!!” And then all the interns laugh as they watch water dribble out of something that resembles a mostly decomposed sandwich bag.
So, yeah, I like writing. It, um, “fulfills me”, and all. But I love, really and truly love, have in fact developed a deep and profound passion for, going to the bathroom the minute I have to go.
In fact, pardon me, please. I have to go see a guy about a wallaby.