Hank: (walking into my dark room) Mama?
Me: (from my bed, struggling) Yah?
Hank: Mama, I am sorry to bother you but it’s 8:15 and pai (dad) is in the shower and Molly isn’t dressed and I am starting to stress.
Me: Just the boy I wanted to see. (huffing and puffing to roll out from under the weight of our winter blankets) Don’t stress. I’m up. (giving up, body burning with pain) Hank, can you help me with these blankets? Your papa forgot this morning and my arms and legs aren’t strong enough to get them off me.
Hank: Oh, sure. (throws the covers off as if they weight nothing because to him they don’t)
Me: Thank you, I was a bit stuck and was working out how to free myself when you came in.
Hank: I will always help you, mama. You help me with everything.
Me: (painfully, wincing rolling to one side, grateful it’s dark) Not everything.
Hank: Well, not math.
Me: (painfully sitting up, gingerly rolling my ankles and waiting for my hips to painfully pop) My… OW (hips popped) thoughts exactly. (deep breath of victory that the worst is over) Where is the littlest chicken? In her bed?
Hank: She is on the couch with milk watching cartoons.
Me: Good. (grateful that I won’t have to ask Hank to lift her from her crib)
Hank: Here are your slippers.
Me: (grateful because I wouldn’t be able to bend down to fetch them and would have gone barefoot on the cold tile floor) Thank you, buddy. Have you had breakfast?
Hank: Yes, I got it myself earlier. Mama?
Me: Hum? (rolling my neck, sounding like I am cracking walnuts)
Hank: You can teach me what you do to get Molly ready in the morning and I can do it. That way you can stay in bed.
Me: You have the kindest heart, Henrique José, but what you don’t realize is it wouldn’t be worth getting out of bed at all some days if it weren’t for you and Ms. Molly McGoo. I need you both to need me. It helps me soldier on. (bracing myself to stand)
Hank: It isn’t easy today.
Me: Nope. Today will not be easy. (standing, wincing, eyes watering) Life isn’t easy, but it’s worth it and made better by boys with kind hearts and silly little chickens that need wrestled into outfits.
Hank: (taking my arm, gently) Can I make you a coffee? I know how. I know how you like it with um pingado de leite (a drip of milk).
Me: See, that right there was worth getting out of bed for! I would love a coffee.
Hank: (dashing off) I will meet you in the living room with the MaGoo!
Me: (using the wall for support, dragging my left leg, smiling) It’s a date!