Moxie and I had a little secret for what we were going to do today
We were going to be watching movies all day as judges for Superfest, the International Disability Film Festival.
I was squirming in anticipation.
So was Moxie. But maybe that’s because I was squirming so hard and she’s usually on me so she just squirms by extension.
Oh! I couldn’t wait, couldn’t wait, couldn’t wait, couldn’t wait, couldn’t wait, couldn’t wait! Through judging over the years, I’ve watched some of the finest of disability-related films. Like Happy Birthday, Thalidomide; Abnormally Funny People and Whole – A Trinity of Being.
And so, it goes without saying that when I called to say I couldn’t make it today because we are all SICK, I was all about crying. Too sad, so sad. My one annual chance to reconnect with the disability community, judge awesome movies – gone.
And now, typing this when I would’ve been getting close to wrapping up a great-as-usual session, I feel grateful that Moxie is so much better. And that my own drugs are working and I feel half-human again. Last night scared me.
Moxie, you see, had a little cough yesterday and I thought that was that. Then around 10 pm last night, she work up wailing. Crying uncontrollably, her tiny body on fire with fever. I freaked. I started crying myself, rocking her, trying to figure out what was wrong, how to calm her. We took her temperature (102), looked up what “they” said to do (wait – look for other warnings). I couldn’t help but think of all the mothers out there who go through something like more often than I. Where holding their flushed, hot, sobbing little ones to their chests is more normal than not.
Her little nostrils were flared, her lips downturned in an exact replica of the tragedy mask. Big, fat streams of tears rolled down her pink cheeks. She looked at me oh so miserably, so uncomprehendingly. Why? What is this, Mama? Ugh. It’s just the worst. Not knowing how to take away your baby’s pain. It’s heart-wrenching.
And so I sat there with Moxie on my lap for half the night. Too scared to do much until finally, all of my limbs numb, I carried her back to the bedroom. Lay down with her. Mikey, also sick, was on his own in the living room.
Moxie was holding on to me like the proverbial lifeline. Grasping my shirt in her little fists, she made sure I didn’t go anywhere. So I stayed right there, all night, watching her. When she got feverish again, then when she vomitted, I cleaned her up, nursed her back down. Finally, as I saw the sky softening outside and the first tendrils of morning light making their way through the trees, I fell asleep myself. With Moxie clutched to me still. Her leg flung over my waist, her arm oustretched on my chest. Her breath, milky and sweet.
When I woke up a few hours later, she was right as rain. And I was crawling around with whatever she had. Such an isiduous little germ-beast! Really!
Making us miss Superfest! But still. I am so grateful that my baby is better. Nights like that… I can do without.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.