“Mom,” said my 10-year-old son from the backseat of our mini-van, “I heard really weird noises last night while I was trying to sleep.
I was only half-listening if we’re being honest. After all, I spend my days being informed of every bug bite, loose tooth, dream, and bodily function… it’s a miracle that I still listen at all, if you ask me.
“Mmm hmmm…” I replied, absentmindedly.
“It sounded like someone was having an asthma attack,” he continued.
“Well… you’re the only one with asthma, so are you sure you weren’t just congested and hearing your own breathing?”
“No, it wasn’t coming from my room.”
“Maybe it was the baby monitor then. It could’ve been echoing Wyatt’s sound machine or something.” I was getting a little tired of guessing, but it didn’t seem we were going to stop with this game until we got to the bottom of things.
“No… I don’t think it was that. It was around 11 o’clock and I just couldn’t sleep. It sounded like maybe it was coming from your room?”
It was in the next moment that I had solved the mystery of the questionable asthma attack that occurred at 11pm the previous night.
“Mom, it kinda sounded like this.” With quick breaths, my son rehearsed the panting sounds he was referring to – they were the sounds of a husband and wife who had been ships passing in the night for too many weeks to count – the sound of allergy-congested people finding comfort in the arms of their significant other.
As my son continued to ignorantly pant in the backseat, I contemplated driving the van into the river, because there was really no way for either of us to un-hear the sounds that we’d heard.
My 8-year-old began to laugh. “That’s weird, Cameron! I wonder where the sound was coming from.”
Flustered, I began to stumble over 1st grade words. I mucked up the word “T.V.” as I tried to explain that perhaps the volume had been too loud. I mispronounced “remote” as I suggested that their Dad had probably hit the increase volume button when he meant to hit the decrease volume button. Overall, I felt dizzy and just a bit nauseous.
But Cameron was not to be deterred. “Well… I don’t think it was the T.V., Mom, because I heard that already before the sounds started. It didn’t sound like T.V. noise. It sounded like this…” My 10-year-old proceeded to mimic the sounds for a second time.
I quickly talked over him, saying that I had fallen asleep and who really knows what show came on once I was sleeping… it could’ve been a show where someone was crying, or perhaps someone who was afraid. I reminded them that when people feel extreme fear, sometimes their breathing will come very quickly. (Because obviously this was the best possible moment to review feelings and the effects they have on our bodies. But chalk one up for Mom and finding a therapeutic moment, right?)
For a minute, it seemed that my son was satisfied. He looked out his window as the toddler continued to announce each car that passed with a resounding “Caaaar!”
“But Mom, it started when Dad went upstairs, so wouldn’t he have turned off the T.V. if you were asleep?”
Oh for crap’s sake!
“Honey, I don’t know! Maybe Dad changed the channel to something he wanted to watch, and there was someone crying or scared on that channel… how am I to answer all these absurd questions? I’m supposed to be focusing on the road, here!”
Cameron seemed deep in thought. He quietly made the noises to himself once more in the backseat as he and his sister determined that it just couldn’t have been someone scared. But sensing that he was on thin ice, he tried once more. “Um, but Mom? The noises ended when Dad went back downstairs…”
And then I realized what I had to do. I had no choice but to throw my husband under the bus. “See, there you go. The noises came from Dad. Maybe you thought they were coming from our room, but Dad was probably just going to the bathroom.” I felt like rejoicing, because obviously bearing down too hard doing one’s personal business can imitate deeds of an even more personal nature, can’t they?
“Yeah… but I went to the bathroom to get a drink of water and Dad wasn’t in there. It was definitely coming from your room,” my son replied thoughtfully.
How exactly is my son in Special Education when his reasoning skills are this advanced? Perhaps if he suspected his Math problems getting it on with one another, he’d pay closer attention in class!
“Cameron. If Dad wasn’t in the bathroom, then he was obviously in our room.”
“And he was probably crying, Cameron,” piped in the sister. “He probably misses Isaac.”
“Yes! Dad was probably sad over Isaac. So let it go, we don’t want to embarrass him for crying.” It was the best I could do in that moment. Taylor sat in the backseat looking heartbroken for her father, whereas Cameron still looked like he couldn’t quite swallow what I was feeding him.
“I’ll ask Dad if he’s OK when he gets home then,” he said with resolve.
I made two mental notes as we arrived at our destination that evening:
1) Inform Husband to admit to being a big crybaby if asked
2) Have Cameron’s sleeping medication increased ASAP.
But before we finished exiting the van, Taylor asked me this endearing question. “Mom? Should I make Dad a card, telling him I hope he feels better?”
“No, honey. I think Daddy probably got it all out and he feels much better now.”
Mental Note #3: No more hanky panky. EVER.