Dear Jo: The Zoo Distraction

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July 25, 3 years A.B. (after-baby)

Dear Jo,

Today you and Emily took the kids to the zoo. It was your suggestion. You didn’t want to stay home and think about how tomorrow would be test prep day. And then the next day is test day. You welcomed a distraction. Plus, the snow leopard cubs are on display. What better distraction could there be?

Dear Jo: The Zoo Distraction

You and Emily walked your crew the two blocks to the zoo.

“When we moved here, I thought we’d hear lions roaring. All we hear are peacocks,” Emily said.

“Yes! Sometimes I think they are kids screaming.”

“I know! Right? And don’t get me started on the smell.”

“The buffalo! When the wind is just right….”

“Or wrong.”

“Exactly.”

You made your way through the first half of the zoo before coming to the snow leopard exhibit. Emerson and Joel spent most of that journey hanging from bars and running circles around the babies’ strollers. But even they paused when the cubs came into view.

“They are cuddling their mama!” Emerson said.

“Kind of,” you said. “They are nursing.”

Emerson looked at you.

“Like Lyla does. Their mama is feeding them.”

Emerson paused and watched for a moment before he and Joel began running circles once more.

“How would you like to breastfeed with all of these people watching?” Emily said.

“Talk about no privacy. Shouldn’t she cover up?”

You both laughed and looked back at the leopards. The mother lay on her side, eyes mostly closed. Every once in a while she’d open them a slit to see who was watching. The cubs took no notice of the audience. After a few minutes of feeding, they both stretched, yawn and fell asleep milk drunk beside their mother.

“Let’s see otters!” Joel said.

As you began walking, Emily asked, “So the test is in two days?”

“Yeah. Tomorrow is prep day.”

“So what do you have to do?”

“Not much. Just have to keep him awake. He can only sleep five hours tomorrow night.”

“Joel would love that.”

“Yeah, Emerson thinks it’s pretty cool.”

“I haven’t noticed him space out at all today.”

“Yeah, some days are better than others,” you said. But as you walked to the otter exhibit, you began to calculate. He hadn’t spaced out while at the zoo. Or even that morning. Come to think of it, had you noticed any yesterday? You had been keeping track, but since the doctor’s office, you stopped ticking off each instance. So when was the last one you had noticed?

When Paul got home that night, you told him about the day, the cubs, the otters, the lack of absence seizures.

“When was the last one you noticed?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I was trying to remember. Probably not since a couple days after his doctor’s appointment.”

“Makes sense,” he said.

“What makes sense?”

“That was when Emerson prayed to stop spacing out.”

“What?”

Paul went on to explain that one night at bedtime, Emerson prayed his typical prayer, the one you had taught him that he had prayed every night for about a third of his life.

“But then he went on and asked God to take away his spacing out,” Paul said. “I asked him what made him say that and he said, ‘When I’m sick, Mommy asks God to make me feel better.’”

Of course you do. For fevers and stomach aches and even bad dreams, you pray for him. You had spent time over the last few months asking God why and what and to let him be normal again. You had talked to Emerson about the doctor’s appointment and the EEG and the wires they’d hook to his head. But had you stopped to pray with him like you do when his stomach hurts?

Your phone buzzed with a text from Emily—a picture of the kids at the zoo that morning. The youngest were in their strollers, Lyla was napping. Joel and Emerson stood together, arms around one another, laughing in unison. The cubs nursed in the background, oblivious to their onlookers, as their mother kept a protective, watchful eye.

Dear Jo: A {fictional} Diary of a Modern Mom“Dear Jo: A Diary of a Modern Mom” is a serial fiction story written by Meagan Church. Stay tuned for the next diary entry of one mom’s attempt to chronicle what she has been told are the days she shouldn’t forget…spit-up, tantrums, milestones and all. Visit the Dear Jo page to catch up on the already-published entries. And, be sure to subscribe today, so you don’t miss a single installment:


 

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Motherhood Doesn't Come with Sick Days

{Photo credit: ©Lafoudre – Fotolia.com.}

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