Sunday, November 4, 2012

Love and marriage

Even discounting the time change, sweet L was fading fast tonight. She got in bed without delay and that's not generally a good sign. Our daydreamer usually needs about sixty reminders for each of her bedtime prep tasks. As I read to her, she didn't pepper me with questions or interruptions. By the time we finished two chapters, she was nearly asleep.

Halfway into her sister's first chapter, I heard her begin to call my name. And then, between the Ma- and the -ma! came that distinctive choking sound followed by a splat. Sweet girl had vomited (to her credit, not on the bed at all but) all over the carpet.

I found her standing on the banks of a terrible sea, mouth agape and dripping, horror in her eyes. I ran out of her room as fast as I ran in. Across the hall, I opened G's door where the lovely husband was reading his bedtime books. "Lovely husband," I said, "we've got puke."

I can rise to almost any occasion. I have killed disgusting bugs and faced down a dog as it chased us and I met G's salmonella diapers with steadfast determination. But I cannot face puke. I began to gag as soon as I smelled it. I almost vomited myself.

The lovely husband, aware of my weakness, urged me away. Once he had all physical remains off of our sad girl, I helped her rinse her mouth. I tucked her in our bed. I got her a bucket and some seltzer. I didn't go back in her room.

Finally back in E's room, she had heard me gagging and wasn't sure she wanted me back in her bed. Are you sure there's nothing yucky on you, Mama? Her cautious voice tried to show concern for my welfare, but her real issue was that no vomit touch her, and I understood.

"No, love. Only Daddy touched the yucks."

And then we agreed about how nice he is. I told her how her Daddy always cleans the throw-up yucks. And we agreed that's the real definition of a Prince Charming. Only partly in jest, I said to her, "you know, love, if you ever get married, you might want to pick a person who will clean up the throw-up."

How will I know if the person I want to marry is a throw-up cleaner-upper?

"I guess you should wait long enough to get married that you get sick one time. If the person says, 'well, call me when you feel better,' that's not as good as if the person says 'let me come over and take care of you.'"

Did Daddy clean up your throw-ups before you got married?

"He did! I always tell you I picked a good daddy for you."

So the steps of getting married are to find someone you love who loves you back just as much and then to throw up and see what happens?

"Pretty much, yes."

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