I woke at 4am, after a few fake-awakes during the night, with some real prickling cramps in my toes. The baby monitor laid facedown next to my pillow, the sound turned off. There have been too many nights listening. Coughing. Choking. I’d run in, check my son, adjust his head, consider suction or not-to-suction, wet his lips, give him water. I’d sit in the oversized chair and hold his hand, stand and stroke his forehead, eyebrows, cheeks, run my fingers through his hair and whisper mother love-words to him.
Not this morning.
My son is 44 and dying from a rare brain disease.
This morning, I didn’t go in after I slowly turned the monitor over and saw him sleeping. I couldn’t turn the sound on. I wouldn’t turn the sound on — in case there wasn’t any.
My robe was hanging on the post at the foot of the bed, taunting me to sit up, put my bare feet on the floor, put that lime green summer robe on and go to the fridge to get a Gatorade for the cramps teasing my toes and thigh.
Fine. I’ll go.
Robe on. Feet slapping hardwood to the damn cold Gatorade. Grab stale oatmeal cookies from the pantry and leave the kitchen for my office. I stop to listen. I hear him snoring softly.
Do. Not. Disturb.