There's really nothing else in the world that says "I love you" like a shoe full of vomit. Honestly.
Perhaps a little backtracking is in order.
It was about noon last Saturday when it began.
"I feel a little icky," said my pre-teen son Kyle as we were taking our seats at my nephew Cody and new niece Alycia's wedding reception.
"Hmm. Weird," I thought, suctioning my cheek to his forehead like a bug to a windshield for a quick fever check.
When it felt cool to the touch, I just chalked up the quasi-queasy to too much sun and soda.
But about 45 minutes later when I watched my son's expression change from fun-filled excitement to apathy to a strong desire to leave the party early (an unprecedented request, by the by), I knew deep in my mother's heart my boy was sick.
Confirmation came in the form of the reception menu being heaved up onto: the floor of the drugstore, my car mats, our family room carpet, the linens in two of our three bedrooms - did I mention in my new "just bought 'em for the wedding" shoes?
Yep, in addition to it being Cody and Alycia's big day, June 4, 2011, will also be forever etched in our family tree as the date of "Puke-a-Palooza."
Actually, the day is an important one because it served as one of those "crucial life moment reminder" deals. Because, when you watch your child, or anyone whom you deeply love, suffer in any way, it's a wake-up call.
It harkens you back to the most basic instincts of caring. The simple fact is: it hurts, physically, to watch your child have any type of pain or discomfort, despite their age - or yours - or any other circumstance. Literally nothing else matters but finding relief for them.
"It's awful - truly horrendous - to see your child suffer in any way," agreed my Linda Ellison of Howland. She's got a teenage daughter and a tween son.
"I'd honestly rather be tortured," she said.
True story. I was seriously mentally volunteering to be water-boarded in the wee hours of that Sunday morning during which neither Kyle nor I slept one iota.
I prayed for it to be me who was sick, not my sweet, helpless, apologetic little man.
"I'm sorry I keep throwing up on everything," he said weakly.
"Sorry? For being sick? Sweetie, there's nothing to be sorry for. I'm the one who's sorry you feel so badly. I wish I could take this flu bug away from you and on to me," I said, nearly weeping as I caressed his pale face.
My obsessive compulsion for running, my inane insistence on checking email or doing extraneous office work from home, my urgency to neaten up the house - all of it flew out the window until I was sure Kyle's fever had broken and he was feeling back to himself.
Nothing like a little puke in the peep toes to reassess life's perspective.
Indeed, sometimes it takes a clonk on the head to make you see the stars with which you are blessed: a healthy child; a happy, solid marriage to a loyal spouse; family members who are also friends; friends who feel like family; a job and home you love.
What lottery winnings could top these things?
So, now, every time I feel us slipping into that dangerous mundane routine of taking one another for granted, I regurgitate Saturday and diffuse potential unpleasantness with a very unique reminder and threat.
"Let's stop bickering and remember how lucky we are to have each other. Don't make me puke in your shoes to show you how much I love you."
----- Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at pkimerer@ zoominternet.net.