Letters to Gabriel (two)


Today, I did what parents do. I was ill-prepared. But I survived. And, what's more so did you!

4:22 p.m. A text from day care lights up my phone. “Gabriel has a fever of 103.3”

I look up and share the news with my colleagues. “This is my first time... Is this like

Tylenol-level fever or ER-level fever?”

They each offer varying advice.

4:24 p.m. I texted your Dad in Texas. He calls Dr. Moore, who recommends I take you to urgent care.

4:30 p.m. I pick you—a red-cheeked, droopy-eyed Baby G—up from day care and follow the doctor’s orders.

4:50 p.m. You've become best friends with 4 women in the waiting room.

5:15 p.m. You have too much fun destroying the paper on the exam table.

5:16 p.m. You spit up on the now-bare exam table. You giggle about it. "Oh, it's fine," the nurse fibs.

5:21 p.m. Doctor says you have a double ear infection. Gives you Mortrin. And asks us to stay for 20 minutes to make sure it kicks in.

5:23 p.m. I hold you tight. Sing off-key lullabies. And rock you to sleep.

5:40 p.m. Your fever drops to 101.

6:05 p.m. I guide your chubby legs into the highchair. You eat smooshed peas and laugh and dance to Leon Bridges.

6:22 p.m. I bathe you. I’m reminded I need to make a chiropractor appointment.

6:33 p.m. I plop you in the stroller. We make our way to the Giant pharmacy.

6:36 p.m. I take a moment to appreciate the smells. Cherry blossoms. Magnolias. Your freshly shea buttered hair.

6:50 p.m. “Hope the little guy feels better,” the pharmacist hands me Cefdinir and smiles down at you.

7:16 p.m. You down 3 milliliters of the stuff. The smell floods back 30-year-old memories of my mom and grandma giving me the same treatment.

7: 26 p.m. You laugh when you see your bottle—the sure sign of bedtime. You drink. We rock. I rewind my off-key lullabies.

7:35 p.m. I set you in your crib. You grab my hand and smile big as if to say, “Not bad, Mom. Not Dad. But, not bad.”

7:52 p.m. I find my favorite spot on the patio. The red bud tree casts its purple-blossomed halo overhead. I sip beer. Munch on sweet potato chips. And watch the baby monitor as if it were the best kind of TV.


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