I lean my face closer to his sleeping form and listen to his breathing.
Even through a mound of blankets I can feel the heat radiating off his back, warming my cheek.
His chest sounds clear, and I sigh in relief.
Finn is sick, and it came on suddenly. He looked pale and disoriented when I picked him up from school yesterday, and by 4pm he was complaining of a headache and felt warm to the touch. By 7pm he was passed out on the couch, one little fist clutching his careworn blanket, the other clutching Mr. Pricklepants, his favorite stuffed animal.
I carried him up to bed, his body limp in my arms. Panic fluttered in my chest, even though we've been through this drill several times over the past couple of months.
No more, I thought. I can't do this anymore.
This morning he managed to drink a little Gatorade, and ate one cracker before zonking out on the couch again.
I tick through all I thought I was going to do today. Figuring out a way to get to everything that needs to be done is like trying to do a puzzle with most of the pieces missing.
Frustrated, pent-up and anxious, I pace back and forth in my kitchen.
I'm tired of feeling behind on everything, tired of scraping together meals from the meager offerings in our pantry, tired of sending messages to customers that their orders will be later than I had hoped, tired of cancelling or begging off playdates, appointments, school, activities.
But most of all, I'm tired of worry.
Just yesterday I was boasting to a friend that we had gone one full week with nobody sick in our house.
I spoke too soon.
We've battled strep throat, stomach bugs, and now whatever this new illness is - the flu? Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease? Strep again?
I perch on the side of the couch and place my hand on Finn's warm head; beads of sweat dot his upper lip even though before he fell asleep he complained that he was freezing. His lips are bright red, his eyes look sunken into their sockets.
Where is the line? I wonder. How do I know how much to worry?
Finn opens his eyes, and it takes him a moment to focus on my face. He gives me a half-hearted smile, blinks slowly and whispers, "Thank you for taking care of me, Momma."
I smile and kiss him on the top of his head. "Don't worry, Bud. I'm here."
And I am. I am here. I think back to days long past, thankfully, when the simple act of being present for a sick child would have sent me into a tailspin. I'll take the worry, inconvenience, anxiety and frustration. Even at its worst, it is so much better than hiding from myself, and my family, inside a bottle.
I stroke his hair as he drifts off to sleep, safe in the knowledge that his mother will take care of him as best she can.
On days like today that doesn't seem like much, but it is everything.