"Mommy!" Her little voice pierces the stillness of the night. I jump out of bed, awakened from an almost sound sleep, heart pounding, knowing I am on call but not awake enough to remember why.
I find her standing in the hallway. Now I remember. "Did you throw up, Baby?" I ask.
She shakes her head. "I'm thirsty," she says.
I offer her a little sip of water and then guide her back to her bed. I tuck her in and kiss her forehead. She grabs my hand. "Are you OK?" I ask.
"I want you." She looks at me imploringly.
"Do you want to sleep in my bed?" I ask and see relief flood her face.
She climbs up into my bed. I tuck her in again and turn off the lights.
She is restless.
I am almost asleep again in spite of her tossing and turning when I hear her again. "Mommy," she says with urgency, "I think I need to throw up."
I jump out of bed for the second time and grab her bucket. I am a little late.
I clean her up with a warm washcloth and then turn to address the linens. The brand new comforter was the only target. As I remove it from the bed, I glance at the tag. Dryclean only. It doesn't matter right now. I finish cleaning up and retrieve new covers.
I tuck her in again. She is still restless. Tossing and turning. Big sighs. Suddenly I feel her little hand through the covers, seeking, reaching. I clasp her tiny hand in mine. Immediately she quiets.
The tossing and turning stops. She is peaceful now, her hand in mine.