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Leah Ferguson

Right Here if You Need Me

Quinn came trudging out of school last week at dismissal time, and from the other end of the parking lot where I stood, I caught sight of her face and immediately thought uh-oh: if a person’s complexion can be both wan and flushed at the same time, that’s what hers looked like. Her friends were gathered around her as they walked, and they looked from her to me. “She doesn’t feel well,” her friend C. said, as if she was passing off a baton, ensuring I’d hold Quinn steady from that point on. Cian was already in the car, so I got in as Quinn did. The tears were coming out of her eyes before I even reached for my seat belt, and she bent to the side to lay her head on the compartment between us. “I really don’t feel well,” she said. She didn’t need to tell me. Twenty minutes later, her temperature had climbed to 102. Twenty minutes after that, she—The Girl Who Refuses to Nap—was out cold on one couch while her brother found himself watching Enola Holmes alone on the other. I hovered beside them, plastic…

Pep Talks

Quinlan, age 11, is on the couch, playing a game on her new Nintendo. I’ve just asked Cian, newly age 9, to start a load of his laundry. “What?!” he says. “How do I do that??” Me, calm: “Cian. You do laundry all the time. Just grab a couple armfuls of the dirty clothes in your hamper and put them in.” There’s a sigh. A mutter. A mumbled “Why do I hafta do the laundry? I don’t know how to do the laundry! Ugh I don’t want to do the laundry.” (Same, kid. Same.) But he goes upstairs, gets the clothes, comes down with them, and goes into the laundry room, which is in the hallway on the other side of the kitchen from where Quinlan and I sit. I hear the rustle of clothing being shoved into the washing machine. “Mom! What do I do now!” It’s called at top volume from the other side of the house. Me, calm: “You put in one of the laundry pods.” “But where are they?!” Me, sighing, but…

Happy New Year, but Late (and Normal)

It’s the second day back to school–back to “normal,” I guess?–after the winter holiday break. Saoirse and Cian are in school but Quinlan is lying on the couch next to me in the living room, watching Netflix (Alexa & Katie is really cute, by the way). She’s home with a stomachache. Nothing major, but it is Covid Times, so we play it safe. This morning she joked with us. “Jeez, Mom,” she said. “Any other year, you’d send us into school if we only had an upset stomach. Or sniffles. Or anything! It’s so different now.” Oh, yes it is. David just drove to a big box store that’s a half hour away to hunt down Covid-19 home tests. They’re sold out everywhere else. We don’t think Quinn has Covid, but you know. They’re good to have around. Cases are rising at our kids’ small Catholic school, but the administration is trying to stay open. (Meanwhile, our huge local public school district just lifted their mask mandate. Makes sense. Sure.)   &nbsp…