Date Night $$

I like nothing more than when people talk openly about personal finance stuff, so let’s do that here for a bit.

Last week my husband and I had our first overnight date in at least 3.5 years. I know having a date night is basic marriage advice 101 and I always enjoy going out with my husband, but can we talk about the reality of how much a big date costs, especially if you don’t have free childcare? Where we live, babysitting starts at like $10-12 an hour, unless you can find a 12 year old you trust who’ll only charge you $8, if you’re lucky. A standard dinner and movie date will probably cost you $50 for the babysitting alone, so you’re lucky if you can get the whole evening in at under $100 (movie tickets: at least $20, snacks $15, dinner at a low-key place $30). Date nights are supposed to be good for your marriage but marriage counseling might actually be cheaper.

Happily, we don’t need marriage counseling at the moment and we are lucky enough to have a good childcare option for an overnight date (something we haven’t really had before) since my awesome niece moved here for college. We hit her up for babysitting duties and scurried off to go to the movies (Black Panther — Wakanda Forever!) and then to stay at a semi-fancy hotel. Which, side note: I very much dislike that fancier hotels charge you for EVERYTHING. $15 for parking, $12 for wi-fi, we won’t even talk about the fact that an omelet for breakfast was $17 (spoiler alert – yes we will). If we do a date night again, I’m headed back to the Embassy Suites because that is fancy enough for me plus there is unlimited access to bacon for breakfast.

On the plus side, the hotel had a very large bath tub and I took not one but two bubble baths (getting my money’s worth) plus I slept in until after 9am, which is always a good idea. At one point I did start mentally doing the math on how much the hotel cost per hour and then I stopped that because I didn’t want to ruin my “I haven’t seen my kids is 18 hours” buzz. Instead, I read a Real Simple in the tub and wondered how long we could stay gone before my niece would start questioning her life choices.

Eventually, because I can’t help myself, I did finally do the math on our date and, well, I can say that it was both totally worth it and surprisingly expensive. One over night but not that fancy date (casual dinner, movie with snack, hotel room, lunch the next day, and babysitting) cost over $400. It could easily have been more if we had drinks with dinner or if I had been emotionally willing to pull the trigger on getting room service breakfast (The previously mentioned $17 omelet also required at $4 delivery fee and an automatic 20% gratuity — I just couldn’t get myself to believe that the privilege of eating eggs in my underwear was worth $25). It was SO GREAT to have almost 24 kid free hours with the person I like the most, so I don’t regret spending the money, but — yikes, it feels kind of indulgent to spend that much money on one night, you know?





Travel Time

When I was starting my career I travelled a lot. I was a college admissions counselor and had multiple states for my territory, so I would spend weeks of the fall moving from high school to high school, college fair to college fair. At first all the travel was exciting. I’d never really flown much as a kid and the novelty of airplanes and rental cars and new hotels was real. I also just felt really lucky. An admissions counselor position is a pretty great gig for an extremely extroverted 22 year old and I liked striding through the airport with my briefcase and business cards. In the admissions world there are short-timers (people who hold the job for a few admissions cycles) and lifers (the people who will eventually run the admissions department) and I was certain I’d be a lifer. I loved the work so much.

Over time though, the thrill started to wear off. I remember being on a two week stretch of fairs and chatting to the admissions rep from another college who had a similar territory to mine, so we’d been seeing each other for the same fairs for the last week. We compared notes on high schools we’d visited and then on poop — neither of us could remember the last time we’d had a decent #2. She thought maybe she had back in Albuquerque. I thought mine was maybe in Santa Fe. Or Colorado Springs. Too much fast food, not nearly enough water, countless hours in the car — we were both pasty and bloated. When I got back to my crappy apartment after that trip, I was so relieved to be home that it made me truly wonder how much longer I’d be able to do that job. It turned out that the answer was one more year.

Since that time, I’ve had seven or eight different jobs, all with varying levels of travel (though none with as much as that first gig). I’m traveling right now, actually, to present at a conference in Florida. As I’ve advanced in my career, the place I have to/get to travel to have improved (peace out, Colorado Springs), as have the quality of the hotels. I’m usually excited about the prospect of the trip, until I actually get there and then I realize that I really miss my family and that I sleep better in my bed than anywhere else and that there is a limit to the amount of restaurant food I want to eat. On my flight to Florida, I got upgraded to first class and I fear that the experience of actually having leg room and getting snacks may have ruined me for all future travel. I’ve seen the promised land now but I’ll never see it again, at least not on my own dime. My return flight home will be back with the riff raff in the economy section, where I belong. I’m never more aware of being a plus size person than I am when I am crammed elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder with strangers in a plane. I feel slightly claustrophobic just thinking about it.

But today I have a few hours to spare, so I’m typing this on my hotel room balcony, watching a storm roll in over the Gulf of Mexico. Soon I’ll video chat with the kids and husband and seeing their faces will cheer me. I’ll do my presentation, which always gives me a little high, and then quickly enough I’ll be back home. So maybe I should stop typing and go dig my toes into the white sand and have a moment of gratitude that it is sand and not snow.



Shut It

As a Minnesotan I was performing my civic duty and watching the Vikings get their asses handed to them play tonight when this Tom Brady thing (? hype video? Commercial? I don’t know, my eyes were rolling too hard to watch) came on. In it, there was all this talk about how hard he works and all he sacrifices.

My instant reaction was mockery. Oh, this poor sad multi-millionaire. The smugest man in Smugville has to work so hard, or so says his supermodel wife, sitting in the sun room of one of their mansions.

Later, I was watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians (shut up, I know it’s all fake) and there were the scenes about how one sister just doesn’t work as hard as the others. Kim work, work, works, don’t ya know? Such work. Much effort. All day.

And my reaction again could be best described as a full body eye roll.

While I think rolling my eyes at the Kardashians is a totally appropriate reaction in almost every circumstance, I did have a moment of pause. Why did this bug me so much?

I’ve written before in this space before about the fact that I grew up in a family that generally struggled financially. The older I get and the farther I get away from those days, the more I realize that there are parts of how I respond to the world that are directly linked to growing up the way I did. One of those parts, apparently, is that I have almost no tolerance for hearing rich people complain about working hard. Hmm.

Now, I don’t doubt that Tom Brady physically works hard and works out a lot. Obviously he does. And the Kardashians are probably quite busy doing their version of “work” (which seems to consist largely of eating salad and having fake hair attached to their heads)(I know, I should stop watching if they annoy me so much. But it’s complicated. I have Reasons for watching). But I think on some level I’ve decided that if you are rich, you don’t get to complain about hard work. It’s unseemly. I think the deeper level is that I suspect that many (most? all?) rich people think they actually deserve to be rich, because, gosh they work so hard. And, no ma’am, I can’t abide that.

It reminds me of an episode of KUWTK where one of them was talking about how “everything works out in the end” and that “God has a plan” and I wanted to scream that of course it works out in the end when you can throw money at the oh so complicated problem of finding the right mansion to live in. And believing God has a plan for you must be super easy when you get everything you want, all the damn time.

Now I’m all riled up. I should know better than to combine pro sports and reality TV on the same night. My tolerance for bullshit, cliches, and non-self aware white people is just too diminished.

Christmas by the Numbers

We’re in that weird zone between Christmas and New Years where I can’t quite keep track of what day of the week it is. Friday? I think? It has been super cold here lately and we’ve been mostly hanging out at home, drinking a lot of hot chocolate and, for my daughter, wearing the same pair of pajamas for the last three days. She’s starting to cross the line from cozy to dirty, so tomorrow probably means the reintroduction of pants to her lifestyle.

Some people might point out that I’ve been wearing black leggings for the last three days but that’s different… they are all different pairs of black leggings. I’m a style icon, obviously.

In a few days I’ll start getting itchy to get all the Christmas stuff put away, so before then, let’s recap the holiday, numbers style:

Time I woke up on Christmas morning: 7:45am (Having bigger kids is awesome. Miles woke up a 6:30am but just hung out until everyone else was awake. This is the same kid who, a few years ago, woke for Christmas day at 3:45am. This is better)

Miles we had to travel on Christmas Eve and Christmas day: 0 (We never travel for Christmas and I hope it stays that way forever. Waking up at home is aces for us)

Number of Christmas lights hung outside: 48, in a half-assed manner on our enclosed porch (I love people who go nuts with the outdoor lights. It is so pretty and festive. I am just not one of those people.)

Number of pounds of Christmas ham that had to get thrown away before it was even cooked because it had gone bad in the fridge: 11.5 (Sob)

Size of the new ham purchased the next day because damn it, I want ham at Christmas: 12 delicious, salty pounds

Flavors of hot chocolate currently available in my kitchen: 4 (regular, peppermint, salted caramel, and double chocolate. Tis the season.)

Number of presents that went straight from unwrapping to the Goodwill bag: 1 (I’m won’t share what it was but suffice it to say that there is someone who has a perfect instinct for getting me things I do not want)(Note, this person is not, thankfully, my husband)

Number of presents I purchased for a kid that it turns out the kid already had: 1 (Do I have a receipt or any recollection of where I purchased it from, many months ago? No, I do not. Will it be re-gifted? Yes, yes it will)

Number of terrible but cozy Hallmark or Hallmark adjacent Christmas movies view by me, alone, as I do my knitting like a proper old lady: 5 (The one where the woman falls in love with the ghost who assumes human form for the 12 days before Christmas was my favorite)(Yes, that is the real story line)

Eggs in my basically perfect Christmas egg bake: 8 (The perfection comes from the fact that there is A LOT of cheese also invited to the party.)

Children who still believe in Santa: 1.5 (I don’t think Miles still believes but doesn’t want to say it out loud yet. Still hedging his bets)

Days until I go back to work: 3

Days I plan to wear black leggings: 3

2017 Year in Review

Time for the annual year-in-review post. Previous years are herehere and here  and, as always, I’d love to read yours if you do one (so leave me a link in the comments!).

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Participated in a protest march with my kid in January, which was a bittersweet milestone. On the one hand, my son was SO into it. On the other, we were driven there by a real fear and anger over the election of Trump who has, in my estimation, been as bad if not worse as I expected him to be.

On a much more fun note, I saw my first comedy show (Trevor Noah).

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?


Last year I said: For 2017, I’d like to compete in some sort of athletic event- maybe a 5K or a sprint tri or the open water swim I’ve done before. I’m probably as un-fit as I’ve ever been in my life at this point and I know I do better when I’m goal orientated, so I should sign up for something as motivation. I’d also like to really learn how to use my sewing machine this year. We have a cute little one from IKEA and I’d like to master some basic stuff and maybe work my way up to an outfit for Ev.

I actually did do an athletic event — a 5K which was humbling and hard. I signed up for a sprint tri and then my body basically fell apart while I was training for it: back pain, hip pain, plantar fasciitis, general despair. I did not even touch my sewing machine once this year, sadly.

For 2018 I’ve got A LOT on my list of things I’d like to do. I’m turning 40 in August and I have a list of 40 things I’d like to accomplish before then. I’ve got maybe six of them done so far, so I’ve got plenty to accomplish. The biggest one is to finish the first draft of a novel I’ve been slowly working on for about two years.

3. How will you be spending New Year’s Eve?

We’ll be home and all I want is for everyone to be healthy. I’ve been fighting a stomach bug for the last few days and I just want to be home and cozy and healthy and able to enjoy some snacks.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Did anyone give birth?

My best friend E’s mother and that is still breaking my heart.

Lots of babies this year. I figured out that by the end of this academic year, over 10% of my staff will have taken time off for maternity or paternity leave. No new babies in my immediate family or closest circle of friends, however, which means not nearly enough baby snuggles for me.

5. What countries did you visit ? Did I travel this year?

I can actually answer this one with a “yes!” this year, thanks to my delightful trip to Montreal this fall. Other than that, we did a week up north for family camp (magical) and Kansas for Thanksgiving (fun as usual)(that is totally sincere, I love seeing family there).

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

A President who is sane and intelligent?

On a more personal level, I’d like to have better overall health in 2018 than 2017. I’d like to feel more comfortable in my own skin and less prone to back pain. I think I need to start swimming again.

7. What date from 2017 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 20th was a real low point for our country. There are family members I haven’t spoken to since Trump got elected and I think I held a tiny irrational hope that somehow he wouldn’t actually take office. January 20th is when I lost that hope.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

I wrote over 20,000 words on my novel. I cut back on my freelance work to do that, which is a hard thing for me to do because I have a hard time turning down paying jobs for something that might not ever amount to anything. I traded some security for some extra space for creativity.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I don’t know. Maybe self-care? I don’t take great care of myself in terms of sleep and exercise.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes — both the usual bugs and illness that comes with having young kids and the previously mentioned body stuff.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets to Montreal! It was such a fun trip and a great time to reconnect with a dear friend.

I’ll also say that the summer pool pass and our week at family camp were worth every single cent in terms of summer fun and family time.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Boring stuff: mortgage and student loans. Ev started kindergarten this year, so we got rid of a major monthly expense, so that was nice. I’m still on the 10+ year plan for student loans, so these will be the big two expenses for the foreseeable future.

13. What song will always remind you of 2017?

I binge watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend recently and I am in love with most of the music but this one is was a personal fave:

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Writing and swimming. I also wish I’d done more date nights with M. My niece moved here for college this fall and we should really be taking more advantage of her babysitting prowess than we did.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Mindless internet wandering when I really should be sleeping.

16. What was your favorite new TV program?

I really, really loved The Good Place this year. Also a fan of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Blackish, which is the show Miles and I share an affection for.

17. Do you love anyone now that you didn’t love this time last year?

Hmm, no, I don’t think so.

18. What was the best book you read?

I read a lot this year, which was nice. For non-fiction, I read two books by Atul Gawande, Being Mortal and Complications, both of which were excellent. In the fiction realm, I enjoyed Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and the Robert Galbraith books.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery? Let’s change this question to something that doesn’t assume I am trying to stay abreast of the latest in pop culture. How about what item of clothing did I wear the most?

When I’m not dressed for work, I am currently obsessed with a tunic sweatshirt I found on Zulily for $14. It is warm, has pockets, and works with leggings. I am wearing it right now and I am cozy as hell.


20. What was your favorite film of this year?

Hmm, nothing really stands out, though I’m sure I saw some good ones. I am SUPER looking forward to A Wrinkle in Time though.

21. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 39 and it was fine. My birthday tends to coincide with the start of my busy season at work, so I don’t usually have a big thing.

22. What kept you sane?

My immediate family of four, some good friends (both in person and online), and feeling financially secure for most of the year.

23. Who did you miss?

My step-sons, always, and several friends. (Same answer as last year, same answer as next year, I suspect).

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned.

Travel and extended time off from work are critical to my life’s happiness.

25. What pictures best represent 2017?

This is (almost) 40

Tonight the mother of one of my oldest and dearest friends (E.) died after a long illness. She died at home and, as much as it is possible, on her own terms. She’s someone that I’ll always remember with a smile on her face, dancing at E’s wedding. She loved and was loved well. It feels incredibly unfair that she’s gone. She didn’t make it to 70 and that is some bullshit.

I’m not quite sure how to best be a good friend to E. right now. She lives far away and there isn’t a memorial scheduled yet. I feel like I’m in new territory here — I don’t think I’ve had a friend lose a parent before. Grandparents, sure. But not parents. It makes me feel an uncomfortable sense that I’m entering a new phase of life. In the last roughly two decades, the milestones in my friend’s lives have largely been weddings and babies. Those are easy milestones. Happy milestones. Sure, they can be expensive (I’m not sure I’d ever want to calculate how much money I’ve spent on bridesmaid dresses, travel costs, gifts, etc) but they are largely joyful.

But now I’m almost 40 and I don’t have any friend’s planning weddings anytime soon. I do, however, have a few planning for divorces in the next year, including some people I remember dancing with at their weddings. I know a few folks having babies, but they are mostly younger coworkers. My friends have mostly moved past the baby phase. A few of them are creeping into having teenagers. Several of them have parents who are ill are declining. These are much less joyful milestones and I need to figure out what friendship looks like in this phase of life. Everyone seems busier now, my friends live all over the country, we’re all crawling with kids and it makes dropping everything to be there — physically there — harder than it used to be.

Sometimes I feel like I’m the exact same person I was when E. and I met when we were both 21 and starting our grown-up lives together. Mostly I’m glad I’m not still 21. I’m happier, more content, less dramatic then I was back then. I like being a mom. I like being financially stable. I wouldn’t go back to being in my 20’s if I had the chance. I’m just not sure what I think almost 40 is supposed to feel like. Mostly I wish that it didn’t seem like there was some really hard stuff waiting ahead for people I love.

Asshole Mom

My son has been “working” on his homework for over an hour. In that time, he’s barely finished one of his two assigned workbook pages. The page is a mess of scratches and scribbled out errors because he used a pen even though I told him to use a pencil. I tell him to use a pencil and to finish the last two problems. I’ll be back in five minutes to check on you, I say, and I take a deep breath to calm myself. The worksheet should have taken him 10 minutes at most.

Five minutes later, I come back in and he looks at me with baleful eyes and tells me he got distracted again. He’s made no progress on his work. I ask him a question about a different assignment. He gives me a vague answer, so I ask him again. He looks at me like I am speaking a foreign language. I bark out the question again, my voice sharp, my teeth clicking together as I spit out each word: Did. You. Do. YOUR. READING. FOR. BOOK. CLUB?

My son, whom I love wildly, shrugs and I lose my mind. I gesture to his homework on his desk, calling his worksheet “a hot mess”. I mock his answer to my question. I feel angry and mean and so frustrated. I finish with a bang, telling him he needs to “get this shit finished”. I’ve never used the word shit at him before. He bursts into tears, eventually climbing into my lap and telling me he thinks there is something wrong with his brain.

The hot prickle of shame I feel is instantaneous, the guilt I feel at being an asshole mom is complete.

You see, my son is struggling with attention and focus right now. We’re working on getting to the root of it, but I know that as frustrated as I am about it taking him two hours to do his homework, it has to be even worse for him. He needs my help and I took his head off instead.

If you ask me on a good day what I’m like as a mom, I’d tell you that I’m loving, I’m affectionate, I’m not a yeller, I’ve got decent to better than average amounts of patience, I’m fun.

On bad days, when I’m asshole mom, I worry about which version of me they’ll remember. I’m the better version of myself more often than not, but when it comes to remembering his childhood, is my son going to remember that I played Dutch Blitz with him for an hour or the time I said shit and lost my temper about his homework?

Parenting feels perilous sometimes. There are so many was in any given day to screw this up, to damage the little people who are hard-wired to love us and need us. I do okay, most of the time, but, damn, it is hard to shake the guilt off when asshole mom emerges instead.

Mind on My Money, Money on My Mind

I’m at work, looking for plane tickets. I’m speaking at a conference in February and though the conference is paying for my ticket, I need to book it myself. As I look through options, I see a $132 flight and a $400 flight available, both at about the time I need to fly at. The cheaper flight is on an airline with a reputation for crappy service and uncomfortable seats. The more expensive flight is on a better airline in upgraded section, so I’d get more leg room and an extra beverage. The conference asked that we try to keep flight costs below $500, so technically I can choose either option.

There is a part of me that thinks this is an obvious choice — you choose the cheapest option, always. I think of this part of myself as my inner poor kid, the one that is permanently marked by the feeling of there never being enough growing up. My inner poor kid whispers in my ear late at night and tells me that even though things are financially okay now, they can always get worse.

This is the part of me that tells me that three crappy t-shirts on sale at Target are better than one quality shirt for full price. This is the part of me that remembers living in a shit hole studio apartment in a sketchy area because the rent was $300 and crying over a box filled with credit card bills. This part of me feels vaguely guilty because I only have one job right now.

I sat there with multiple tabs open for longer than I should have, knowing that I wanted to get the better flight but worrying about it. I had this whole vision of the conference coordinator getting my invoice and then checking to see if there were cheaper options. In my head, she rolls her eyes and mutters something like “greedy” as she updates my file, circling my name in red ink.

(I suspect the reality is that she gets my invoice, checks that the days are correct and that it is under $500 and doesn’t think about it again. But this reality is so much less shaming than my vision, so why would my brain go there instead?)

Sometimes I think about the fact that my kids are growing up in relative economic security and I wonder how that will shape their relationship to money. Will they absorb any of their father’s inherent cheapness and tendency toward  wondering if there is an expense we can cut? Will they grow up having the same Pavlovian response to an orange clearance sticker at Target that I do? Or will they have their own set of money worries, fears, and anxieties that don’t have anything to do with mine?

I think about how my nine year old sometimes worries aloud about my student loan debt, even though I’ve never expressed any concern to him that we can’t make the payments of that it is a problem. I’ve always been matter of fact about them (yep, I have student loans, yep we are paying them back, yep it is gonna take awhile…) but he still worries that we aren’t doing enough to pay them off. Where does that come from? Is there insecurity imprinted on their DNA, like some sort of Dutch Hunger Winter but for money?

(Side note, my Dutch mother was in utero during this winter, so I’m fascinated by the epigenetic work that has been done in this area. I feel like a very non-scientific read of this means that I can blame the Nazis for size of my pants. Nazis ruin everything.)

But people are adaptable. So maybe they won’t have anxiety. Maybe I’ll lean into the fact that I have enough. Maybe I’ll get used to just having one job. Maybe I’ll do some more thinking about this on my flight to Florida, when I’m not too busy enjoying my extra drink and six more inches of leg room.

Road Trip Rules

We went, as is our tradition, to Kansas for Thanksgiving. I really enjoy spending Thanksgiving with my husband’s family but there is no getting from here to there that doesn’t take all dang day. This year, for very boring reasons, we had to take two cars so I ended up driving the kids and my teenage niece while he drove by himself.

I think we all know who got the better end of that deal.

The drive was actually fine. Uneventful even. No bad traffic, no bad weather, no car barfs — the parenting road trip dream trifecta. Because the drive was nine hours and I was carting children, we did have to stop five times. Each time gave me an opportunity to remember that the rules of normal eating do not apply when you are on a road trip.

Gas station hot dog at 8:45am? SURE!

Multiple cans of Pringles? Why not!

Leftover Halloween candy passed around the car every 75 miles for people who aren’t whining? Well, that’s just good parenting.

A 44 ounce Diet Coke? NO. That is for real life, when there are bathrooms everywhere. Road trips mean dealing with a mild case of dehydration until we get past the Missouri state line, kids.

There are a few things that I basically only read on road trips: those gross but good Hostess fruit pies (cherry, please), Bugles, Red Vines, and… well, the list could go on, but I’m curious about you (yes, you). What is your road trip food?


Red Alert

The house was dark and quiet as I started to get ready for bed down in the basement bathroom. I was just about to brush my teeth when I heard the sound of movement upstairs. Ours is an old house and I can tell be the sound of the creaking wood floors who is moving and where they were going.

A child. Headed to the bathroom. I’d been out for the night and didn’t see either of the kids before bed, so I went upstairs to give a quick hug to whichever one was moving. My son stood in the bathroom, looking pale and shaky, the smell of vomit heavy in the air.

My hope that he had made it to the bathroom before we barfed was in vain. His bed (a cursed loft bed, ideal for being a total nightmare in circumstances like this) was a biohazard crime scene. This not being my first time at the all night barf rodeo, I quickly woke up my husband and we went into sick kid triage mode. Get the big bowl, point sickling in the direction of the bathroom to wait for the cleaning crew to finish stage one clean up: strip the bed, assess the assorted stuffed animals and pillows and decide which get the washing machine and which get the trash bag, grab baking soda and paper towels for the mattress.

The work stops as the patient begins to dry heave. Negotiations commence to determine who is saying home from work tomorrow. Rinse the bowl again. Lay a towel splash zone around the makeshift bed for patient zero. We’ve done this before. We’ll do it again.

It isn’t until Miles is settled down that the strand of anxiety I have about child illness starts to unravel. Vomiting illness are the biggest trigger. It only takes a few minutes before I start to imagine that Ev will be sick too and then me and then my husband (even though he has an immune system of steel usually). What if its Norovirus and we sink into an endless cycle of GI distress? What if the grown ups become too sick to take care of the kids? What if I can’t go to work for a day, a week, a month? Oh God. Does my stomach feel weird now? Maybe? Did he share my drink today? Or was that yesterday? If it was yesterday, was he already sick but we just didn’t know it.

It is super fun that I often feel anxiety as a stomach ache with bonus rumble tummy.

My anxiety over kids getting sick started when I was in grad school and only had class a few times a month (they would go all day) and missing even one or two classes would result in having to drop the class and start over next semester. As each class session drew closer, I’d become hyper sensitive to every cough or sniffle from the kids. A kid who didn’t finish their snack or said they had a tummy ache would make me feel sweaty and want to run for the nearest motel.

I made it through grad school and I have enough sick time at work that I could handle missing some days so there’s no reason for me to feel the swell of panic when I think about a kid with a stomach bug. I’m a reasonable person. I know that kids are gonna get sick. This is not a big deal.

It is super fun that anxiety doesn’t listen to reason.

I’m keeping him company now, taking the first shift so my husband can sleep a bit. I’m doing the thing mothers have done since time began — keeping the night watch over a sick one. If centuries of mothers have done it without a Xanax, I suppose I can too.

It’s gonna be a long night.