“Mom. There’s a big, fat, black spider in my pillowcase. Don’t kill it.”
Cold sweat rolling down my pits, I climb up the jiggly ladder to her loft bed. Sure enough, there it is. Its too big to kill. I’d have to roll it in a carpet and dig it a grave.
I take the pillowcase to the tub and shake it out. There are some nice ants coming up through the bathroom tile this time of year. It’s an upgrade.
Meantime, she watches to make sure I don’t flush it.
“I’ll put it outside in the morning,” she decides. Then, she climbs back into her bed and is asleep again before I turn out the light.
As I fall asleep, my brain casts back to the most terrible thing I remember from childhood: the cartoon version of The Hobbit where Bilbo finds the trolls have been captured by the spider. Only, the trolls are my kids, and I get captured…
I wake to the sound of plastic stuff clattering to the ground. The cat was excited by the spider episode and wants to play some more, so he’s knocking my son’s diabetes stuff off the dresser.
“Mom,” I hear him whisper. He’s still mostly asleep. When I walk into his room, I catch the cat’s glowing, guilty eyes in the light of my phone.
“Get out of here,” I nudge him off the dresser and pick up the lancet and test strips. Only he has another idea.
“As long as you’re up, my bowl is empty.”
“Nice try,” I tell him, but I wonder if he’ll let me get back to sleep. We sort of meet in the middle: he doesn’t jump up on the bed and step on my neck, but he continues to stalk my houseplants and knock over the Christmas cactus.
I just fall asleep, and it’s morning.
I hear the door slide open as my daughter steps out to free the spider. So, I smile and get up, still tired. My son’s awake, too. The routine commences: breakfast preparation, the shoving of the food down the throats, lunch packing, the pulling of the clothes upon the bodies, the horrific brushing of the teeth, the terrible wrangling into the car, and school drop-off.
There was a time I muttered curses at parents who turned the wrong way into the parking lot, and judged them for letting their kids go to school in flip-flops on a 30-degree day.
Now, I know someone was probably up holding hair away from a barf-bucket, rocking a new sibling for the fortieth time, or waiting for the dryer to finish because ALL the socks were in the wash.
“Today is library,” my son says.
“Oh, that’s great,” I say.
“My library books are still in my room.”
“Put them in your backpack when you get home, you can return them tomorrow.”
I am happy to handle night-time duties, but can not be held responsible for forgotten library materials. One of these days, they will check out of Hôtel aux Parents, I will lose my job as mom-cierge, and maybe get a good night’s sleep…
And I won’t know there’s a spider in my pillowcase until it’s too late.
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