My husband and I recently returned home from an 8-day vacation in Tucson, Arizona where we spent time with my family and shared in traditional Thanksgiving festivities. We flew from Seattle where we left freezing rain behind, into Phoenix, where we were greeted by clear skies and highs in the 80's. We were grateful for the break from the damp darkness of the Northwest coast and accordingly spent many hours outside soaking up the sunshine.
The trip seemed to start off well despite our 3-year-old's impulse to talk constantly, about anything to anyone at anytime. whew! We were relieved to arrive at my parent's house where she could divide her verbal abilities among more adults than just my husband and I. We settled into the room where we would be staying during our visit and after some bites of my mom's amazing homemade pizza, promptly fell asleep.
The next night, we had BBQ hamburgers for dinner. Our daughter was chomping away with nearly half the burger gone when my husband noticed how pink it was. He looked at me with alarm and asked, "is that okay?" We all had a closer look and decided to cook the burgers longer. My husband and I both felt a faint sense of dread, but decided to hope for the best and trust that no harm was done. We finished the meal and enjoyed the rest of our evening.
This is where I describe what it's like to eat a "toad" in the wee hours of morning. Around 2 am, I awoke to the sound of our daughter shuffling around in the dark, trying to make her way to our bedside. I reached out my hand and drew her to me. As she got closer I felt heat radiating from her small body and heard her groggy voice mumble "my tummy hurts, ma." She crawled in bed beside me and made a coughing sound. I recognized what was about to happen, jumped from the bed, clicked on the light and spread an old towel beneath her just in time to catch a large amount of vomit. yikes. My heart was pounding from fear that she had contracted E Coli or some other bacteria from the undercooked burger.
My mom awoke and found the old glass thermometer I used when I was sick as a child. Alley dutifully held it under her tongue "just like Laura in Little House on the Prairie." It read 102 degrees. I asked my husband to give her a lukewarm bath while I went to the computer to search the Mayo Clinic website for health information.
It turned out that she was fine. Her fever subsided the next day and there was no diarrhea and no more vomiting. But for the rest of that early morning, from 2 am to 7 am, my husband and I took turns comforting both children as they restlessly woke up over 10 times. My daughter was uncomfortable and sweaty, afraid that she would vomit again. Her restlessness would wake Soul-Baby and on and on. At one point, my husband rolled over and hugged me in the dark and with a small chuckle said " this is unbelieveable."
And that friends, was the day we ate an early morning "toad." By sunrise, things were looking up. The kids felt happy in the warmth and sun and were able (most days) to take good naps during the day. But for some reason, for the entire 8 days, they awoke repeatedly in the wee hours of morning.
It is in these moments that we remember that our parents have done the same for us and that parents across the globe know what it's like to sacrifice precious sleep for these small humans in our lives that rely entirely on our care for them.
I was thankful to have my husband beside me. I felt we were comrades, silently and lovingly continuing where the other left off.
There's just something about eating a "morning toad" beside the man I love.