i wake at three-something because i feel him leave the bed, and i wrest the earplugs from my ears. Posey. she has been waking regularly lately, a froth of nightmares of bats and cows. he comforts her. i am awake anyway, so i go in, pull quilts up around small chins.

we slip back into the warmth of bed. i wrap myself around his back, and try to convince my pingpong brain to ignore the fact that my biggest school presentation of the year is in a few short hours. or that i should still be reading.

we drift. i only realize i’ve fallen asleep when a child pads in an hour later and interrupts a dream. i am blurry, confused. Oscar. Oscar? strange. he crawls in beside me and i move to accommodate. his curly head fits under my chin, and sleep drags like a tugboat.

oblivi….oh shit.

he is retching, shielding his mouth with small hands.

the capacity of the parental body to go from 0 to 60 on the adrenalin-o-meter – even and especially from the desperate fog of sleep – is a blessing and a curse. it is the reason my own quilt is still vomit-free this fair morning. it is also the reason i can no longer sleep without earplugs, because my poor body has been conditioned to flood with cortisol at any bump in the night.

success. we clear the gauntlet of items-that-require-heavy-washing-or-dry-cleaning if spewed upon, and make it to the toilet. i send Dave back to bed, because when Father’s Day falls on the day before your partner’s biggest school presentation of the year and also is the first Father’s Day her father is without his father, well, you get to go bbq at your in-laws’ and that’s as fancy as your day gets.

but the gift of sleep from 4:30 to 6am? a price above rubies, right?

he can’t say i never gave him nothin’.

and yet when i find myself curled on the futon in the guest room with my clammy son, a bucket beside us, him snoring away and occasionally retching; me reading a critique of Butler and Foucault’s failure to account for the materiality of discourse by nightlight and wondering if my own guts aren’t a little iffy, my mind wanders to Dave in the next room and i remember how the light of almost-dawn used to find us still awake under oh-so-different circumstances and i send up a tiny song of mourning for what will not come again, those easy days we took for granted. and i whisper at the wall, in his direction, hey you. i remember.

and i add, i hope you are sleeping. Happy Father’s Day.
***

and this afternoon i present my thesis project in draft. a three hour meeting. wish me luck. send coffee.