The table is set for Shabbat with the crystal and china. Even got out the pressed cloth napkins for my special guests. I made a killer meal. It’s one hour before dinner and I’ve managed to carve out a little “me” time. I took a shower and fell asleep only to be woken by a raging 7 year old banging on my door causing my entire bedroom to shake like a San Francisco 7.2. Now I’m angry. No one likes it when I’m angry. I hurl out of bed and am ready to attack this little creature that somehow claims to have come out of my body at birth. When I open the door, there he is crying, with a very enflamed ear and huge glands that look like golf balls. Now I’m in a panic. Plus I have guilt, but more importantly, panic.
Normally, I don’t get into a panic over such symptoms, but my nephew just got diagnosed with the infamous Mumps. So I’m thinking, my kid surely has the mumps. Sure he got the vaccine, but you never know, I mean, the mumps are bad. And even vaccines don’t always kill them. My nephew got the vaccine. He got the mumps. (He was exposed to them from a kid who never got the vaccine from New York. My nephew is only three, so he hadn’t gotten the second booster yet.)
So I did the one thing I have never ever done. I called my dear friend, whom I set the table with crystal and china and even the pressed cloth napkins and told her that I had to cancel our dinner plans because my kid has the mumps! I texted a few other friends with the news, as well as my one friend who’s kid is in Meir’s class who I know never got the vaccine. Now I got her worrying all Shabbat thinking her kid is surely going to get the mumps too.
That night my husband went to Synagogue and he mentioned to his Shul buddy that we cancelled our guests cause our kid has the mumps.
“Really?” My husband’s shul buddy says. “The mumps, eh? What are you gonna say when you don’t want us over, your kid has the black plague?”
Well now this whole thing is out of control. I rush to get my kid some advil, and I even manage to get our pediatrician, a nice M.O.T (member of the tribe, aka Jew) to show up at his office on Shabbat morning for us.
I walk my kid over there, and in sheer panic, and listless anxiety and apprehensive trepidation, I get the news….
My kid has an ear infection.
So now I gotta get home and walk through the door and tell my family that I was wrong that my kid doesn’t have the mumps, that all it is, is an ear infection and that I cancelled on my guests whom I had served up bbq ribs, tasty chicken soup and a thirty dollar lemon meringue pie from Delice bakery (only the most expensive French pastry bakery in all of LA) for no reason whatsoever.
These are the same guests who were in the middle of getting haircuts just for me, when I called to cancel! I have to backtrack, and remember every email, text and phone call I made so I don’t get all of Conejo Valley in a tizzy over a 35 year old disease that hasn’t seen the light of day since nineteen sixty something and all because when you’re a mother and you’ve worked hard on setting the table with china and crystal and even pressed cloth napkins and you finally fall asleep but are awoken by a screaming child, even you just might mistaken a simple ear infection for the mumps.