She threw up before she could even try the squash soup she asked for. The powerlessness and humility of being on knees, a fistful of her hair in my hand while she leans on the toilet, her body rejecting the little bit she ate that day.
She sleeps pretty well but I don’t. I’ve been wide awake for several hours every night this week. Tonight’s cyclical thought: did I close the chicken run all the way? Could a raccoon slip in there? At 1am, I reluctantly get up. I slide my feet into my red rubber clogs and trod to the coop under the huge, bright moon. It seems the moon has been full for days. It wasn’t all the way closed. I climbed into bed with her and she’s breathing fast. She’s hot. I refill the essential oil diffuser, move her body onto cool sheets, kiss her freckled eyelid.
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I can count on one hand the number of days she’s missed something because of illness. It just doesn’t happen often. Tuesday feels like a good day to miss school. Both of her knees are hidden under bandages from the Big Playground Fall the day before and being eight just takes a lot of energy. She needs rest. It’s gray and windy. A good day to watch the leaves change from green to orange to red. She’s looks so little and weak. A good day to be quiet and slow. A good day to count magpies, watch Wild Kratts and make sauerkraut.
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First I have work to do. She watches a show on the computer and I slip into my studio where Amanda is already sewing. I feel grateful for my work at home, that I can do this and I also feel that pull – like I need to hurry to get back upstairs to her. So we can be in the same room. I email customers, pack and ship the stack of orders I wish I’d mailed yesterday. Research new ladies hoodie suppliers as my favorite no longer makes our most popular size. Send invoices, schedule things, make lists, call insurance for the third time about that bill, get better about stopping thinking about that mean instagram comment. “I’m over you.”
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Mama, it feels like the weekend except Ruby isn’t here. I miss her.
It’s 11 and Margot has humor and is hungry and I’ve been waiting for this. I make her an egg and heat up soup. She reads a bit. We practice multiplication. I cast my mama magic with Thieves on her feet, RC on her chest, Purification in the diffuser. She feels better and I marvel at the healing power of plants: the soup of acorn squash, tomato, shallot, coconut milk and the oils of lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus, spruce.
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I missed my morning weight lifting class and settle into kitchen aerobics instead. Margot sits sweetly at the counter while I chop tomatillos and shuck corn and prep potatoes for roasting. We listen to First Aid Kit and talk about Halloween, gymnastics, Glee, shoes and favorite blankets.
When Ruby gets home from school she enters the still house like lightening. Wild blond pigtails, neon orange shirt, mouth full of half-in teeth opening and closing with the day’s tales. She’s eager to see Margot and to tell her how she sat with Keira on the bus, the very first time riding without her big sister at the hip. We make salsa.
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We leave the house for the first time that day to drop Ruby at soccer practice. As I walk away holding Margot’s hand, I see Ruby bouncing with her teammates in the green grass. Wholesomeness and safety and joy.
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Andy is home from work when we get back and we gratefully move through the motions of our evening routine: dinner together (trying to get Ruby to sit for more than 3 minutes, encouraging Margot to wait until after dinner to perform her jump rope routine), picking out clothes for tomorrow (hoping to avoid the morning sock crisis), book (show tonight instead).
I settle into bed sure I’ll sleep better than last night. No puking, chickens locked up, tired bones, more life tomorrow.