When With-a-Why runs a fever, his skin turns so pale that it's translucent, white behind those long black eyelashes and the black silky hair that falls against his neck. When he's sick, I notice that he — like all of my kids — is painfully thin, so skinny that I can noticed the shape of his bones. (It's a mystery to me how teenage boys who eat so damned much can be so very thin.)
With-a-Why is thirteen years old. He's an expert snowboarder, a good Ultimate player, an accomplished musician, a teenager with a sophisticated sense of humor that comes from being the youngest of four kids. And he's almost as tall as I am.
But when he's sick, he becomes a small child once again, cuddling against me in the big bed, where I've set him up for the night. My husband is out of town, which means With-a-Why will sleep with me, waking up to ask for juice or another cold wet cloth for his head. I read to him a little, did reiki on him, and brought him some mints to suck on. Now, I'm about to snuggle next to him and sleep for the night, just like I did when he was a baby.