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Betsy Block

Stories without recipes


Coming in July 2008 from Algonquin Books:
The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World

And now, The Dinner Diaries website is up! Check it out!

If you'd like to receive (infrequent and very short) e-mails when I have pieces in real publications, and when my book comes out this summer, sign up here.

So there I was, sitting on a hard wooden bench surrounded by people of all different shapes, sizes, ages and colors. I felt we were all part of one family. I noticed a love of humanity welling up in my heart. True, this isn't how most people react to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, but that morning I wasn't most people; I was a mom who'd been trapped in the house with a sick child for two days, with many more days of the same yet to come.

Yes, Maya had the flu, and no, Dad, I don't regret not getting flu shots. (A friend of mine got them for herself and her family and they all got the flu anyway.) Instead, I regretted my flexible, home-based job, because when someone gets sick, it goes without saying that I will be the on-call health care worker drafted into double duty. Hence my disproportionate happiness at leaving the house to get my license renewed.

I don't mean to sound overly dramatic. I definitely left the house on other occasions last week. One day I got an hour's pass for physical therapy (wise choice); another evening there were a couple hours for dinner with friends (even wiser). And then there was the Registry, which could have waited if only my license hadn't just expired days before. (Driving to the RMV without a legal license added a frisson of excitement to my journey, although only because I didn't get into any accidents on the way there.) I've never minded a government waiting room less. Other than these brief furloughs, though, there was literally no break from the incessant moaning, crying, and general misery. Oh, and Maya was fussy too.

Normally, the weekend would offer some solace because Andy would be home to spell me, but not this weekend. The four of us were supposed to go to a bat mitzvah in Maryland. Andy needed to go because his family would be there, and Zack went too. It goes without saying that I stayed home with little Maya. When Andy called on the second morning, he told me he'd been feeling dizzy ever since he got to Maryland. I'm still not sure if he was just trying to cheer me up.

By the end of the sixth day of fever (and the second day Daddy was gone), Maya gave a heavy sigh, plopped her head in my lap, grabbed onto my arm with her two little hands, beatifically smiled up at me, coughed directly in my face, and fell asleep. That was when a trip to the RMV dropped one spot, to second place, in the competition for the best moment of my week.

No really, I'm fine.