Monday, 1 September 2014
Dana awoke to silence, her eyes immediately going to the digital alarm clock next to the bed. The time caused her to frown, and she rolled over to turn on her lamp. In the past couple of days, she had been awoken in the middle of the night due to her one-year-old's persistent cold so she was quite confused as to why she hadn't had to do the same the previous night. As the lamp lit up her nightstand, she noticed the baby monitor she usually kept there was gone. Well, that certainly explained why she hadn't been woken up by the cries of a very unhappy seventeen-month-old yet, but she still should have been able to hear something since the nursery was right across the hall from her room.
Letting out a sigh, she pulled herself out of bed, pulling on the robe she kept on her desk chair and heading out of her room to check on her baby. The door to the nursery was already open and the soft glow of lamplight spilled out slightly into the hall. She could hear soft humming as she crossed the hall, and when she got to the doorway she saw her mother holding the small child securely in her arms while she dozed lightly in the rocking chair.
"Mom..." Dana whispered softly, causing Maggie to look up at her daughter in surprise. "Have you been here all night? Why didn't you wake me? You know I would have taken care of her, you didn't have to do it for me."
It had been something she had insisted upon ever since she first found out she was pregnant two years ago; despite her age, she was determined to take care of her daughter on her own, unless she absolutely needed help. The only thing she had given in to was her parents' insistence that she continue living at home while she attended the University of Maryland, since they lived within a reasonable commute of the university campus. That way, at least she had someone to watch her daughter while she was in classes. The arrangement had worked during her first year of university, and as much as she loved having her parents around to help, she couldn't help but feel that she should start to look for her own place now that she was going to be starting her sophomore year.
"I know I didn't, Dana," Maggie answered quietly, opening her eyes as Dana came up to kneel next to her and began to softly stroke the fine red hair on her daughter's head. "But classes start again today, and you've been so tired since she got this cold…I wanted you to have a good night's sleep tonight."
So she took the baby monitor from my room, Dana finished for her mother in her head. "Didn't she cry? I can usually hear her across the hall without the monitor, and I didn't hear anything this time."
Maggie gave her daughter a small smile and kissed the little girl in her arms on the head. "It was more of a few persistent whimpers and sounds of discomfort that came through around one in the morning," she explained softly. "She fell asleep a few hours ago, but I just wanted to be sure she would stay asleep. I guess I fell asleep with her."
Dana nodded and she turned her gaze toward her daughter, her fingers tenderly grazing her slightly feverish forehead. The poor thing had caught her first true cold a few days before, and it continued to stubbornly hold on making her usually lively, giggly little girl sluggish and weak. However, the doctor had assured them it was nothing too serious, but to bring her to the hospital if her fever rose any higher. Thankfully, they had not yet needed to take that advice.
"I can stay home, mom," she whispered after a few moments. "It's only the first day, a lot of professors only run through the syllabus and let us go…" But she trailed off as her mother began shaking her head.
"No, Dana, go to class," Maggie insisted. "We'll be fine, won't we, my sweet girl?" She gently pressed a small kiss to the top of the little girl's head, rubbing her back in soothing circles when she began to whimper again. "She'll be alright, her fever has already begun to go down. Go to class."
Dana pursed her lips a bit, but nodded at her mother's insistence. "I'll come straight home after I'm finished," she told her quietly, her eyes never leaving her sleeping baby's face. "You'll call me if anything happens, right? If anything gets worse?" Of course she knew her mother would always call if anything happened, she just couldn't help but feel nervous leaving her poor little girl when she was sick for the first time just so she could go listen to her professors introduce the semester and let them go ten minutes into the lecture.
"Yes, Dana, but like I said, she'll be fine," Maggie insisted. "Now go get ready, I thought you had an early class."