Sometimes life gives me a friendly swift kick in the arse. On the weekend our two-year-old son, Trevor, suddenly developed a nasty barking cough, and in between his fits he struggled with tiny, noisy gasps for air. I recognized it was croup (he's had it before) but just the same, my stomach dropped, my muscles tightened, and I said, "I think we need to call 911."
Instead it was decided that I would drive him to the hospital. Every couple of minutes, I'd look into the rear-view mirror and ask the little duffer if he was okay and he'd respond with a feeble "yes" and then go on coughing and gasping.
While we were waiting for the male nurse to enter information into their computer, the boy hacked up some phlegm and instantly drew in a deep, clear breath. His cough was gone and he was ready to party.
We were sent to a room. It was a lovely room, really, with a door rather than the usual hospital curtains, and colorful fairytale paintings on the wall. He was well-behaved for the nurse, and also for the doctor, who told us to wait an hour before going home.
It was about one o'clock in the morning, but Trevor figured it was play time. He opened his little hands to me and said, "Here's some chocolate raisins!" and that's how our pretend picnic began.
I remembered all of this tonight, as I smothered him with kisses before bed, and my heart swelled huge with joy.