Around 3AM I heard Daughter #1 calls me. I hop out of bed and amble into the girls room to see what's the matter.
"Daddy, I need to go to the bathroom.", she says. Not an unusual comment from the girls who still prefer to have me walk them to the bathroom in the dark of night.
She walks in, announces that her tummy hurts and proceeds to power puke into the toilet. Old skills kick into play and I pull her hair back to avoid an even bigger mess.
Back in Mesozoic Era when I was in college, I first learned that girls with long hair and puking just didn't mix well. Holding their hair out of the way while they drove the porcelain bus was the least you could do.
So there I was at 3AM holding the hair out of my eldest daughter's face so she could hurl in relative cleanliness. I chalked it up to my indulging them with ice cream during the day and candy after dinner.
I placed the sick one into my bed to sleep with Michele and I wandered up front to sleep on the couch.
At about 5AM, Michele appeared in front of me, ashed faced. "Um, Mikey? Um, we are all puking, I need a little help."
Sure enough all three girls had been puking sick while I slumbered. I took over the full nursemaid duties and began shuffling from bedroom to bathroom to bedroom, cleaning up and holding hair while my girls were sick. Sure enough some foul disease had struck the household.
Washing out a couple trash cans with the hose outside at 6AM is a novel way to wake up to the day. The fresh air was good. Using the plunger on not one, but two clogged toilets before breakfast is good morning exercise.
My basic remedy for all incidents of puking is Gatorade. You need that stuff to replace what you've been losing. Michele prefers 7-Up (not Sprite, mind you, it has to be 7-Up to have any medicinal purposes). Today she made the alternate call for Ginger Ale, another of her favored curealls. I run to the local liquor store to procure the supplies for the battle against upset tummies and run into a profoundly drunk man at 6:45AM having a conversation about lobster bisque with the clerk. Damn drunks...
On my drive home, an unpleasant rumble in my stomach makes it's announcement. No, I cannot be sick. Two sick parents caring for two sick children is something out of a bad made-for-TV movie.
I say to myself, "Self, you cannot be sick today. Any other day, you can be sick, but today you need to be strong and clean up puke all day." And so I am strong today, but I may be sick tomorrow.