Note: I am working on that audio post idea, everyone. It is going to be long and I might have to break it up into multiple posts. We shall see. Now, to this post:
The Tuesday before last, at 9:30 a.m., Isaac turned to me and said, hopefully, "Michelle coming?"
(I was surprised. Michelle, Isaac's occupational therapist, who makes housecalls, always came Tuesday mornings, but I didn't know how he knew it was Tuesday).
"No," I said, "Michelle isn't coming today, Isaac. Michelle had a baby! It was a surprise-- the baby was born early. Now she has to stop working for a while and take care of her baby, until the baby gets big and strong, and then, when her baby is big and strong, she will come back and play with you again."
"Michelle has baby?" he whispered, his eyes wide. "Oh!" Then he smiled. "Isaac has baby, too!" And he ran to get a baby doll from his toy box, but shortly got distracted by his toy trains.
Last Tuesday, at 9:30 a.m., Isaac clasped his tiny hand around mine, and asked, "Today Michelle coming?"
"No, baby," I said, "Michelle is not coming for a long time. She has to take care of her baby. But Michelle's office said they would send one of Michelle's friends to come play with you instead until Michelle can come back."
This Tuesday, as we rushed about in the wee hours of the morning trying to get ready for me to go to an 8:00 a.m. dentist's appointment, he said, in a voice that seemed to expect disappointment, "Go see Michelle?"
"No, Isaac, I'm sorry. Michelle's still not coming. Michelle's friends are trying to find someone else who can come and play with you, but they still haven't called Mommy back."
Today, a woman named Jackie called me to say she would be Michelle's replacement.
"I know you've missed a lot of sessions while we tried to find someone," she said, "So I was thinking I should definitely come every week. Only I can't come at all this week, or the week of the Fourth of July. Oh, and I work with students in August, so I can't come at all in August. But I can come every week other than that."
"Um, isn't Michelle coming back to work at the end of August?"
"Well, yeah, I think so . . . " Jackie said.
"So, you're basically saying that you can come for three weeks in July, and that's it?"
"So, when did Michelle usually come by?" she asked.
I sighed and told her that Michelle came on Tuesday mornings at 9:45. "Isaac usually eats lunch around 11," I explained, "and so she would usually stay until right before lunch so that he would start getting a little bit hungry just as she was starting the food therapy at the end of the session."
"You're saying Michelle would stay for a whole hour?"
"Yes, usually, sometimes more. Why?"
"Oh. Hmm." Jackie paused. "Well, if eating is a problem for him, I don't want him to get stressed out by having someone new around when he's trying to eat."
"Well, actually, you see, Michelle was working on his eating because his eating is his main pro--"
"How about I come at 9 a.m. next Monday and we'll take things from there? I haven't looked at any of his charts yet or anything, and I don't know if I'll get to it this week, so we'll probably need to start from scratch. I don't know if I can stay for a whole hour on Monday, but I can try."
Your company has had eight months to prepare for this absence, and you haven't read my son's charts?
I don't like you, Jackie.
Oh, sweet, sweet Michelle. Please come back, as soon as you can, Michelle. You can bring your baby! You know can nurse her right in front of me-- I'll give you nursing tips! I'll hold her for you, and sing to her, and change her diapers, while you try to get my son to play with peanut butter. Or, hey, could we come to your place? I'll cook you lunch. I don't care if your house is messy; I know you've got a new baby. In fact, I'll wash your dishes and do your laundry and scrub your toilets.
Micheeeeeellllllllle . . ..