Forgive me, Heather

I owe Heather a belated Happy Birthday. One that isn’t tainted by vomit or diarrhea. Or delusional jabbering or by a screaming baby on the plane.

Heather, Happy Birthday! You are the love of my life and the most wonderful, talented, beautiful, hot rockin’ mama in the world.

I’m still recovering from the trip to SF, and it’s hit Heather particularly hard. As I write, she is hopefully sleeping. God, does she need to sleep. If there is a prayer circle that works, internet, get them/it to pray for Heather to sleep. We got food poisoning or some kind of crazy bug and I threw up for the first time in 10 years the morning we left. I threw up many times. I don’t envy the hotel staff for the HazMat team they had to send into that bathroom. Our last morning was a porcelain tag team event where Heather and I alternated between toilet and sink, with a poor, grumpy Leta trying to wake up and figure out why croissant chunks and Pepto Bismol and Orange Juice were spewing out of Daddy’s mouth in between I’m sorrys during pauses in retching.

I do not know how we survived our journey home, or how we got so sick. I wasn’t about to trudge up to the UCSF Emergency room, luggage and Leta in tow, Heather convulsing for hours while waiting for medical attention. I figured we’d be convulsing for hours no matter what, those hours should at least be spent getting us closer to home. And help.

During the descent of our flight, Leta would not be comforted. Heather would try to hold or feed her and Leta wasn’t having it. Sometimes the contact would force Heather to pass Leta back to me as she apologized and ran to the toilet to puke. I had a brief respite, when I gave Leta a teething biscuit. She loves these and they calmed her for a bit. I could feel her ire rising, however, when she’d lose track of where the biscuit was or couldn’t see it. Like a scene from a movie where the bomb squad person isn’t going to cut the right wire in the right time and the camera cuts to their face in the moments before the explosion, that’s how it was with me and Leta. Finally, she erupted and didn’t stop screaming until we were on the jetway, walking off the plane. During the landing, I held her close, and wept, my shit no longer together.

I couldn’t fix Leta.

I couldn’t fix Heather.

I found, in that moment when the tears started, a new respect for what Heather goes through every day. I couldn’t get to the Tylenol drops on the plane because Heather was hunched over in her seat and I didn’t have the heart to ask her to rummage through her bag for fear of further retchery. We didn’t get the drops into Leta until baggage claim, and then Leta turned instantly cute. After the hospital drop off (thank you Beth!) and a tortured attempted non-breastfeeding and bath, Leta was laid down for the night at 5:40 p.m. MST (she slept until 6:45 the next morning). I then promptly fell on the couch, being riled only by phone calls assessing Heather’s well-being and by Heather herself, feeling better and making soup for dinner as I drooled in bed and then finally passed out at 8:45 p.m. MST.

In all of this, I neglected to wish Heather a Happy Birthday on her day and I feel horrible about it. It’s taken a couple of days to muster the strength and attention span to write. I’ll say it again; Happy Birthday, Heather!

The weekend featured several Very 1998 Moments getting to meet in no particular order: mightygirl and b-may and Derek and Heather and Matt and a third of Adaptive Path and Lance and Leslie and Stewart and Caterina and Dinah and Judith and John and Jish and loads of other amazingly nice people (Apologies if I have forgotten you!).

Pictures coming soon.

Did I mention Happy Birthday, Heather?