There have been many "oh, so this is what it's like to be a parent" moments since we've had Jayden seven months ago.
Five stained shirts in one day? Oh, so this is what it's like. Blowing out a diaper on a road trip? Oh, OK. Smiles in the morning and cawing with delight in the evening when you come home from work? Oh, OK. Cool.
Unfortunately, I had another moment last night, when Kate called me, in tears, telling me that the nurse from his doctor's office said Jayden had to go to the E.R. Now.
Oh. So this is what it's like.
I was at work, Sunday night, for my editor's shift, so I told her to be strong for him and call me as soon as she heard something. I called her five times in the next 15 minutes.
Jayden was battling what we thought was a cold. He was at her parents' house, enjoying the weekend with the grandparents, so we could clean up the house and get it ready for putting it on the market.
I suppose we should have insisted on an urgent care appointment after they were up all night with him because he was so congested, but we thought it was a cold, he would be fine, as he was earlier the year with the sniffles. Deep down, I think we knew it wasn't the best decision but we were hoping anyway that things would work out, kind of like when you call an all-in with A,10 and your short stack.
Kate said by the time she picked him up, Jayden's cry, normally an event that rivals a Metallica concert in sheer volume, was a soft meow, like a choking kitten. And his lungs and nose seemed to be stuffed with snow.
I felt OK once they made Kate wait a couple hours for the E.R., figuring that if they needed to crack his chest (like I saw on "E.R." once), they probably would have done it sooner. And by time Kate called an hour or two later, she sounded calmer. Doctors weren't panicking, at least.
I got there at 9:30 p.m. Jayden had a mask on, part of a breathing treatment, and he sounded like oxygen could barely squeak into his poor little lungs.
My little guy, I thought to myself.
When the doctor, a huge guy with long blonde hair, a beard and a sort of etheral presense about him (I almost expected him to wear sandals) came in and told us the congestion was not in his chest, I almost hugged him.
Thank you, Jesus.
After a few steroid treatments, we brought Jayden home, and he finally crashed in his crib, able to breathe for the first time in three days. When I came in today, at 7 a.m., he was sitting up in his crib, all seven months of him ready to play, despite his stuffy head.
He had croup. I'm not sure what that is, or even if I"m spelling it right, but it really sucks. A nurse came in as we were about to leave and said, yeah, his kid had that too, and it scared the crap out of him.
So this is what it's like to be a parent. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it's exhausting. Sometimes it's really fun. Many times, it's rewarding.
And, occasionally, it's really, really terrifying.
In my last four SnGs, I've lost on three of them, which is unusual for me. I’ve lost mostly because in my last six races, I've been the favorite in every one, sometimes a heavy favorite, and I've lost all of them. So I’m the guy you see on TV with the 80 percent behind his name, and I’ve lost every time.
Normally I'd whine about my bad luck.
After Sunday, I realize that sometimes, luck just evens out.