When I answer the phone that’s all Heather says. “Pinkeye.”

She lets me register the visual (crusty goop from some over-productive internal glue factory) before she explains which of my grandchildren has this particular ailment at this time.

I get these calls every few months.




These are not complaints; they are reportage. Just the facts.

In the single word I see a hologram of my own maternal career. Staying up with a sick child. Worry. Exhaustion. Patience. This too shall pass… but what if it doesn’t?

Evenutally the symptoms evolve into an ordinary disease with a name, a short arc, and a happy ending. It’s just pinkeye, not the beginnings of a total-body staph infection. I can breathe again.

Until the next time.

That’s motherhood (and now grandmotherhood).

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