Elihu is home sick today. It’s where he should be, but might not sound it. He’s asthmatic and yesterday had a tummy thing. He slept a deep sleep for twelve hours last night, and this morning wasn’t quite back to health. And even while I can hear him snorting and wheezing from the next room, I also hear his intermittent narration of the things he’s doing, the things he’s thinking. He calls out to me every few minutes with a thought, an observation… If I were to take a step back and realize things won’t always be thus, I’d probably be charmed. It is sweet. But after a while… I wonder, where did he get this talking and talking thing? Then I realize. Oh. Yeah. Me.

I have a lot to do; re-certify for food stamps – for both me and my brother – get taxes done, finish the application for tuition assistance at Waldorf. All the grownup homework assignments are due now. March is the month of deadlines for me, and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There’s also an Easter basket to fill on Sunday, and I’d counted on today in which to collect its little surprises. And now that Elihu’s home I have one less day to spend nose to the grindstone and chasing chocolate bunnies.

He’s fine without me, but he still calls out to me every few minutes. Not so much for soothing as for a witness to his play. Or his ideas… and they’re fairly nonstop. I find it hard to listen actively to him – and I don’t want to simply ‘mm-hmm’ my responses – so I find myself getting testy. Will have to retire to my office as soon as the house is picked up and spend some time in earnest at my desk. He’ll just have to do without my audience for a while.

I listen, I wait. He’s engrossed in something now, and his one-sided conversation has stopped. Maybe this is a good time to head downstairs. I’ll make sure he’s happily engaged before I depart. He’s a good kid, with a lot of ideas swirling around in his head. I want to be there to share them, but just not right now…

I make a promise to Elihu that when I’m finished with my homework I’ll come back and listen to everything he wants to tell me. My wheezy little chatterbox of a boy.

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