Every parent on the planet knows the insanity that is “Back To School.” There is buying the school supplies, picking out clothes, Meet the Teacher, the first day of school and Open House. The craziness is enough to drive anyone to complete exhaustion. Then, there are the inevitable germs. After a summer of health—away from water fountains, communal bathrooms, and shared classroom equipment—germs lurk around every corner as kids are thrust together and immunity is down. This usually results in one of my three kiddos getting sick. Unfortunately for me, this year it meant mommy getting sick. A 24-hour fever virus to be exact.
I started feeling feverish and achy once the kids were home from school and done with homework. I was in the process of making dinner. By the time Mr. Right got home, my temp was 102°. He ushered me to bed while he took care of our normal nightly routine. I took a few Extra-Strength Tylenol and fell into a deep sleep.
The next thing I knew, I was slowly waking up to a faint clicking sound. In my semi-sleeping, medicated, feverish state—I began hallucinating that a wild raccoon was in the room walking around. In a panic, I crouched at the head of the bed while Mr. Right slept.
“Christian!” I whispered in a panic. “Christian! Get up!” He rolled from side to side before lifting his head.
“What is it? Are you okay?” he asked full of concern.
“No!” I replied (still whispering). “There is a rabid raccoon in our room. It keeps walking around our bed.”
“Brooke, I don’t think there is a raccoon in the house.”
“Hush!! You are talking too loud. There IS a raccoon—just listen.” We sat in silence as close to the center of the bed as we possibly could, listening for the light clicking noise. “You hear that? It has ridiculously long nails that are tapping on the hardwood floor when it walks,” I said in a whispering panic.
“That’s those development plans I brought home from the office. The fan is making the corner of the paper hit the floor.”
“Why aren’t you scared for our family? You have to protect us,” I demanded. Christian reached over and felt my head. I immediately pushed him off.
“Brooke you are burning up. I think we need to get your fever down,” he said with concern.
“I’m not doing anything until we get rid of that raccoon,” I said stubbornly. I could see that Mr. Right knew this was a battle he wasn’t going to win.
“Okay then. What do you want me to do?” I started to answer, but just then the raccoon (with fangs dripping in foam) jumped onto the corner of our bed.
“Hurry! Its on the bed!” I jumped off the bed and ran across the room and hunkered down by our armoire. Christian followed completely freaked out over my behavior. Mr. Right and I, crouching on the floor in the corner of our master bedroom, sat for a few moments—one of us totally aware that there was no raccoon, the other was scared out of her mind. Christian knew something had to be done.
“I know what I need to do,” Christian whispered with confidence.
“Be careful,” I replied full of concern for his life.
He walked over to the desk and grabbed the set of plans that were rolled up like a long tube. Then, he slowly walked over to the corner of the bed. He rared back his arm and beat the snot out of our down comforter. It took him several minutes to kill the raccoon I had hallucinated, but Mr. Right eventually emerged victorious. That raccoon was as dead as a doornail.
When Christian was done, he pretended to wrap the raccoon in a towel and dump it in the garbage can that was beside our garage. By the time he was back in our room, I had realized it was all in my head. I could hardly breath from laughing so hard as we replayed the entire incident. Once we had adequately rehashed every detail—I agreed to try to get my temp down since it had increased to 105°. As Mr. Right nursed me back to health for the next hour or so, I was reminded that love isn’t being there when it’s easy, pretty, or good—love is being there when it isn’t. My husband had beaten the mess out of an invented raccoon for me. He had wrapped it up in a towel he knew I didn’t care about and threw that pretend raccoon in the garbage. He played along and took care of me as only a good man could, and if that ain’t love—then I don’t know what is.