It is 3am. Even now the temperature in the bedroom is between stifling and unbearable. A hot little body is jammed up against me, arms around my neck, snuffling slightly. A poorly boy.
Around 4am he finally falls back to sleep and I creep groggily back to my own bed. It’s already beginning to get light outside. I side in and out of a stuffy doze until 5:45 when he is back, clutching a cuddly toy and looking unwell but unfortunately wide awake. No rest for the wicked. We get up.
This is where home and work really collide, but today is an easy one. There are no meetings to rearrange, no complex negotiations with the husband about who can do what part of the nursemaid duty. Today – as most days – I have a day of writing fundraising applications ahead of me, and that is a flexible thing. A sick day for an eight-year-old boy, at least in this house, generally involves a lot of lying on the sofa watching too much Star Wars and How to Train Your Dragon, interspersed with short-lived bursts of energy and possibly occasional sleeping. (Though not, unfortunately, for me, despite the disturbed night.) I bring the laptop downstairs to keep him company and hope the phone doesn’t ring.
Having long ago mastered the art of tuning out the sound of lightsaber duels and dragon racing, it becomes almost just another day in the office. In fact, it’s lovely to have tea breaks replaced by cuddle breaks and breaks to administer drinks of water and any delicacies the invalid can stomach. (Although when the requests for sweeties begin I know it’s back to school tomorrow!) My conscience forces me to take a decent lunch break to spend time with the boy before he develops square eyes. We can play a little if he’s up to it.
The working day actually feels longer and more luxurious when it’s not squashed between school runs. I wouldn’t want it this way every day, for his sake and mine, but it’s a quiet change to the routine and comforting to know that I can easily be there when he needs me.