Light from the bathroom slants into our dark bedroom as A. pushes open the door and pads inside. “Mom?” he whispers and crawls into bed, his skin hot and sticky.
“Oh, you’re so warm,” I say, scooting over to make room for him beneath the blankets where he immediately slips back to sleep.
His middle-of-the-night isn’t a surprise. Over the last several days, each of the boys and myself have taken up occupancy in the bathroom as the stomach flu swept through the house. (By some medical miracle, it skips Chaz.)
All weekend, I’ve hung my hopes on the reprieve of school: a day of rest after several days of tending sick kids, washing and rewashing sheets, and washing and rewashing the bathrooms. I assumed we were all on the mend.
A. wakes in the morning cool and alert.
“Am I going to school?” he smiles before reshaping his face into that of a child too sick to go to school.
I press my palm against his cool forehead before tucking a strand of hair behind his ear.
“How’s a day at home sound?”
There’s a rule at school that kids must be fever free for 24-hours before returning to class. I’ll admit that in the past I’ve been guilty of sending a child back early for the selfish, simple reason of wanting them out of the house. Not this time.
I pick up the phone and call the school office to tell them A. will be staying home. It’s unkind to expose others to even the possibility of the stomach flu.