“You just get on shift?”
“Yeah.” The word fell out mid-yawn. Jen gave herself a smack in the face. “Ugh. I feel like I’ve been up for forty-eight hours straight.” She grunted. “Oh right, I have been.”
Gina smiled sympathetically and grabbed her purse from the locker. “Baby girl didn’t sleep again, huh?”
“No. She’ll never sleep again. The time for sleep is over. This is my life now.” Jen shook her head, envious as Gina grabbed the rest of the things. She just got into the hospital and already she couldn’t wait to go home. She avoided the clock on the wall. “Any notes for me?”
“Hmmm.” Gina fixed her hair in the mirror. She never looked out of place, even after she pulled a double. That’s what you get when you’re a nurse, single and childless, Jen thought grouchily. She tried to remember the last time she was able to even grab a shower before work. “Oh. Keep an eye on the sweetheart in 202, would you?”
“Is that a sarcastic sweetheart or a legit sweetheart?”
Gina smiled and patted her on the shoulder. “You’ll see.”
Legit sweetheart, Jen soon realized. The girl in 202 (and she was truly just a girl, seventeen if she was a day) smiled the instant Jen entered the room. It was four am and the girl’s eyes were open wide. “Hi,” she whispered, even though they were alone. Lucky girl had managed a room to herself.
Jen smiled back, despite herself. “Hi.” She checked her vitals and flipped through her chart. Rough delivery, she noted. “Can you sleep? You should sleep.” Sleep now, she wanted to say, because when you take that baby (a baby boy, she read on the chart) home, sleep is history.
The girl laid on her side. “I can’t sleep, no. But it’s okay. I don’t want anything. Is my baby all right?”
“Last I checked, he was just fine.”
“Where’s Gina? Did Gina go home?” Jen nodded as the girl’s face fell and she struggled to smile. “I’m Marcie.”
“Hi Marcie. I’m Jen. I’ll be your night nurse. Looks like you scored a private room, for the moment.” The other bed was empty but likely wouldn’t be, for long. Jen looked at it longingly. When she glanced back over to Marcie, she was startled to see tears on the girl’s face. “You all right, hon?”
Marcie struggled with the words. She covered her face with her hands and Jen noted there was no ring on her finger. “Is there someone you’d like me to call for you?” Jen asked with a sinking feeling. She had suspected the girl’s story the instant she saw her in that bed. The girl had been there for two days and the room was unmarked. No balloons. No cards. No stuffed teddy bears. No visitors.
Jen looked down at the girl she’d once been herself, not too long ago. She thought of her daughter and felt an ache where her heart should be. “There’s no one,” Marcie murmured through her hands and her shoulders pitched forward from the silence of her cry.
Jen stared down at the girl, amazed that she knew what to say. The words were there because this moment was in her memory- her in the bed, her nurse standing over her. The pain was the same and the comfort would be the same. Jen gripped the side of the bed post and crouched down until she was close to the girl. She reached out and grabbed her hand. Marcie looked at her, dazed and overwhelmed. “I’m going to go and get your baby for you.”
“You are?” Marcie blinked. “Why?”
“Because then you’ll see, you’re not alone anymore. You never will be again.” Jen squeezed the girl’s hand and smiled. “It’s going to be okay, sweetheart.”
“Trust me on that.”
Every year, Mother’s Day gets bigger. I think that just kind of happens as you get older. Suddenly it’s not just your own mother to celebrate (Mom!) but your sisters too (Meliss! Jenn!)
And then your friends get into the game. More and more friends who are now mothers (Hope!) or are about to become mothers (Sarah!) or have literally just become mothers a minute ago (Brigid!). Awesome friends/sisters make for awesome mothers- this is a factual statement.
Also factual- awesome mothers deserve awesome homemade doughnut muffins. One for every unsung hero gesture they make.
That is a lot of muffins. That’s a tidal wave of muffins, in fact. You’d better get busy.
Happy Mother’s Day!
For the batter:
1/4 Cup of butter
1/4 Cup of vegetable oil
1/2 Cup of granulated sugar
1/3 Cup of brown sugar
2 Large eggs
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons of baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon of baking soda
1 to 1 and 1/4 Teaspoons of ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 and 2/3 Cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Cup of milk
3 Tablespoons of melted butter
3 Tablespoons of cinnamon sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin or line with 12 paper cups and grease cups with nonstick vegetable oil spray.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
3. Add the eggs, beating to combine.
4. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and vanilla.
5. Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
6. Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full.
7. Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
8. Remove them from the oven and let cool. Meanwhile, melt the butter for the topping.
9. Brush the top of each muffin with melted butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
10. Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.