I Will Never Be Cured

The school nurse calls, and I come.

I pick my baby up from school, administer tylenol, tuck him in for a nap. He doesn't have a fever, but complains that his "brain hurts" and that his shoulders and legs "feel too tired to do anything." Normally, I'd be reticent to take him home from school in the absence of visible, credible symptoms.

But as it turns out, I feel the same way. My brain hurts. My arms and legs are too tired to do anything. Achy. Sleepy. In need of a quiet and still afternoon.

I tease Caed that he must have given his germs to Mommy, and I pretend to give them back. I say "Here! Here! Get these germs off of me!" He doesn't even crack a smile, just lays his head down on his pillow, motions for a hug.

"My poor baby," I say, squeezing his neck. I remember my Mom saying this to me, all those times I was sick enough to stay home from school, those mornings I'd spend watching game shows and looking forward to the sweet-tart flavored meds.

"Tonight we'll have breakfast dinner, and we can cuddle and watch a movie. How's that sound?" I ask.

He lets go of me and nods his head. "Good," he whispers.

"Good." I echo.

I kiss his warm forehead. He smiles and scrunches further into the sheets. "Good," I say again. "Good."

In these moments, at least one diagnosis is clear. Of this condition called Motherhood, of this symptom--heart walking forever outside my body--of all of this, I will never be cured.

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