At 7 PM my husband, stir-crazy, volunteers the lot of us for a night drive. My kids are in their pj’s, having enjoyed an early bath this evening. My daughter is babbling about “taking only three things with me to help me feel better.” Fine, fine – hustle. Everyone loaded up. Ralph, kids, all tucked into blankets; me at the wheel. We drive out to North Beach and then over to Fort Worden to look at the moon and the clouds and the ferry shimmering by on the water. Music is on and everyone’s warm and bright-eyed.

I leave my sleeping girlchild and Pox-y husband and to-be-Poxed son in the van and duck into the local video store. I find a copy of The Corpse Bride for Ralph and the kids to watch tomorrow; I make good on my voucher for a three-day rental of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. The boy at the counter and I talk a bit; I am just glad to have five minutes out of the home with no one hanging off me or hacking around me.

We get home and my blanketed sick boys trudge in the house. I edge into the van and gently unbuckle my sleeping daughter. She still clutches in her hands the three toys she took with her to help her feel better: a wooden helicopter, a sparkly soft purple fuzzy ball, and an antique hankie Abbi gave her years ago.

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