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Hints of tragedy

I had a funny story I’d meant to tell. I’ll tell it now, with the codicil that it’s got a not-so-funny second chapter. I don’t know how the third chapter will turn out.

Here’s the story: This is what it means to be a mother. One of The Child’s preschool teachers — S. — had to miss school last week. Her daughter, a freshman at school about 7 hours away, had been hit with a brutal stomach flu and needed someone to take care of her. So S. was going to drive 7 hours, pick up her puking daughter, driving 7 hours home, take care of her puking daughter for the weekend, then drive her back to school a few days later, another 14 hours in the car. And, of course, since stomach bugs are so damned contagious, you just know that S. was going to be down with her own case of puking in a few days.

And, of course, she’ll do it with love. That’s mother hood.

I was going to write this earlier this week, when I figured S. would be out of school again — puking. Figured it was illustrative of the joys of motherhood.

Instead, on Thursday, S. approached me and one of the other moms, with whom I have become friends, to tell us that she was leaving the preschool, effective next week.

I was shocked. She was gushing about how wonderful our kids were, and she had shiny teary eyes. At first I figured she was just sad to leave our fantastic kids, but she said, “I have to spend some time with my daughter. She has… health issues.”

Something in her tone, in her teary eyes, in the way she spoke, indicated to me that this wasn’t “to take time to take care of her while she recovers,” but instead “to spend time with her while she fights for her life and probably dies.”

S has been running a playgroup for 16 years in the local library and I think she said she’s leaving that, too. I can’t imagine that anything other than a life-threatening illness would make that happen. And I wonder what could be considered a stomach flu last week and be a “quit-my-job” illness this week?

I can only think of a handful of things. Cancer is the first one, second, and third. Various “House” episodes make up the rest. Whatever it is, it’s BAD.

I feel awful for her. And, of course, I’ll probably never find out what’s actually going on, so my worst-case-scenario imagination will continue to spiral out of control.

And, of course, The Child will be devastated.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. K
    December 15, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    That’s awful. I hope it isn’t truly serious. I also hope you find out the truth so you don’t have to imagine the worst.

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