Finally, Z is alert. Minutes have gone by. He is helped to his feet. We get him to the bench, and his teammates applaud, as do the few people in the stands. I want to vomit. But I can't.
It was five years ago when Lauren was a passenger in a full car that crashed. It was driven by a boy her age, and I was terrified and nauseous when I found out. It was a bad crash, and alcohol was involved. There was a news item about it in the local paper:
" 'When I pulled up to the accident scene, my first thought was how many kids were dead,' said Lake Bluff Police Sgt. David Belmonte. 'The fact that nobody was killed is unbelievable.' "
But no one was even injured. The risks we take when we become parents are perhaps indefensible, maybe inexplicable, certainly unbelievable. But we take them all the same. And we pray for luck. We pray for luck never to run out.
Cary calls from school. She is doing well in her art history classes, and she says she can simply look at slides now and tell which French painter did the work and what period it was from. "And I found a catalogue where they sell swimsuits with a Matisse on them, and I'm getting one!"
It's his bedtime, and I tell Z to quit messing around, turn out the light, put down the Nerf ball he is toying with and go to sleep. He is in his oldest sister's room, in Lauren's bed, where he likes to sleep while she is at school. It's bigger than his bed, which he is outgrowing, and it is different.
"Come in and lie down beside me," he says.
"No. Go to sleep. You have school tomorrow."
"Come in and lie down."
"I can't. You have to go to sleep, and I have a lot of work to do."