I wake up with a case of the Februarys. The light sneaking through the window is so murky that I don’t think it even qualifies for light. Even though the house is sealed tight, instinct kicks in–I smell snow. I flop down under the covers, reluctant to venture into the raucous world of “I’m hungry” and “Did you sign my planner” and “No! I don’t need my hair brushed today.”
I should be happy under those covers because February is almost over, but I’m also afflicted with the Marches, so I’m stuck in winter’s gray talons for quite a while still.
Then, in my etherized state, I realize that it isn’t Monday; it’s Sunday. My birthday was the day before and now I’m certain I’m getting Alzheimer’s. What kind of addled brain loses track of days?
I close my eyes again, conjuring sleep, but my stomach has other ideas. Rumble and growl. Dangit. Why can’t I wake up without any appetite, like my sister? I’d be able to squeeze in at least another half hour in bed that way; alas, I am a Grizzly.
I clench my teeth and commit, throwing my legs over the side of the bed and try to lurch quietly out of the bedroom.
I have company.
The Rooster (aka: Miss M.) is sitting outside of our bedroom door, raccoon-eyes wide. She breaks into a gap-toothed smile at the sight of me and then furrows her brow. “I can’t walk, Mommy,” she whispers.
I crouch down. “What do you mean, you can’t walk, BunnyBunny?”
“Look, she says,” and falters as she stands. I steady her with my arms and ask her to walk. Sure enough, her right leg is so painful to walk on that she hobbles like a one-legged chicken. A grimacing one-legged chicken.
She’s almost too heavy for me to carry, this growing girl, but I scoop her up and settle her in on the couch, swaddled in a blanket. She whimpers for hot chocolate.
And then I remember. Miss D. did the same thing around that age. Since D. was our first-born and I’m a neurotic freak, I rushed her in for x-rays, convinced she had polio or some other awful affliction. The verdict? Growing pains.
And then I really remember. I had them, too. How many nights did I wake Mama up in the middle of the night, howling for mercy and clutching my legs? Mama tried warm baths, tried Absorbine Jr., tried aspirin. I remember huddling in my nightgown, wailing because nothing worked. It’s horrible, to be useless to help your child.
Thank you, genetics, for dishing this up to me. I fumble for the Aleve. Still, it takes a good hour before Miss M. can hobble with any modicum of balance, and it’s still pretty clumsy business.
Wide-eyed, she points at the sliding glass window. “Snow and wind! Big snow…what about Evelyn?” Miss M. has a playdate with her friend Evelyn today, and M. doesn’t make friends easily. This is big stuff for her, and she’s been excited for days.
“But if she doesn’t come, we can’t make ebelskiver! And I reallyreallywanted to show Evelyn about ebelskiver. Stupid snow!” Her eyes spill over and I want to shake my fist at the Februarys. Why do the Februarys ruin everything?
I crawl next to her on the couch and wipe her tears and runny nose with my sleeve, unwilling to get up for a proper tissue. She’s growing so fast that her bones are like a fledgling fawn, delicate and shaky.
“Just because snow happens, doesn’t mean ebelskiver can’t happen,” I say. “Let’s make some now, and then if the snow stops and Evelyn can come over, we’ll make them again.”
“Two in one day?” she says.
“Yup, if we can. Get up, gimpy. What do you want in the middle, jam or Nutella?”
She hits me with spherical, watery eyes. “Chocolate chips?”
I look out at the snow and the wind that’s blowing so hard that it’s almost a whiteout. February.
“Chocolate chips, I can do.”