I was leaving the next day. I was running lists through my mind. What needs to be done tonight and how long it would take. What did I need to still pack. What should I let my mom know. What should I let their father know. What needed to be done the next morning. I was pacing to actually go to bed at a reasonable time. As I helped Tornado S off with his shirt, my mind drifted to tomorrow evening, and I smiled and-
Tornado S: I put a ball in my ear.
Tornado S: I put a ball in my ear today.
Me: What?! I mean. What?! Why? How? When? Really? Let me see. Which ear?
He turned his right ear to me. I peered in. Something reflected light back. Was that the “ball?” Or was that the back of the ear, shiny with ear wax? The kid does produce a lot of ear wax. I couldn’t be sure.
Tornado E: Let me see!
Me: I’m going to get a flashlight. Tornado E. Tornado S. Finish getting ready for bed.
I ran down the stairs. This is not good. I leave tomorrow for four days. This is not good. I grabbed the flash light, running back up the stairs. Tornado E stopped me at the door to their room with his hands on his hips, feet spread. He put one hand to to halt me and then replaced it on his hip.
Tornado E: No problem, Mommy. I’ve checked the ear. And there is nothing in there.
Me: Thank you, Tornado E. Let me take a second look. Just to see.
I sat on Tornado S’s bed. I took his hand and pulled him into position, his right side towards me. My knees were on either side, ready to clamp down in case he ran. I clicked on the heavy flashlight. Where was the small one? I moved the light to shine in his ear. I looked in.
Reflecting back the light was a pearl bead.
I leave tomorrow.
It’s bed time.
And there is a bead in my son’s ear.