Aviva had been expecting a nervous phone call from her mother ever since Chavi had announced to her in grand Chavi fashion Aviva’s total incapacitation. So she was surprised when the day went by without hearing from her.

By the next day Aviva was beginning to wonder if maybe the phone lines were down. Or more likely she suspected that Zevi was screening her calls. Still Zevi wasn’t home all of the time (though he’d been allowing himself frequent breaks from his printing work to run home and check up on her.)

She shifted in her bed rolling from one side to the other. The next day was Friday and she’d have to somehow put Shabbos together. How would she manage to do that if she could barely stand on her feet? She had some friends who confessed that there were some weeks when they only made chicken soup and cholent. She’d always scoffed at such laziness.

Nine more months of this sweetheart. And then you’ll be making Shabbos with a newborn and then with a toddler… At the rate you’re going now you could be doing a soup and cholent Shabbos for years!

She pulled the blanket up around her head.

And then heard the doorbell.

It was a sharp peal and she wondered who it could be. Her kids’ friends always tapped shyly at the door.

She heard the stampede of little feet the heavy door slamming open and then—

“Bubby! We didn’t know you were coming!”

Aviva sat up so fast in bed she thought she might faint.

Her mother. Here in her house. Oh. My. Goodness.

She should have realized when Mommy didn’t call. Why hadn’t she thought of this? Why hadn’t she done something to prepare just in case?

The place was a wreck. She was a wreck.

Could this be just a really bad dream?

She closed her eyes. Opened them again. Wiped the sweat off her forehead. No this was really happening and she had just seconds to prepare before her mother saw her in this state.

She jumped up ignoring the sudden wave of nausea and quickly opened the blinds made her bed and running to the bathroom splashed some water on her face. She winced at the mirror. She looked so washed out. Makeup. That’s what she needed. Blush. Lipstick.

Someone was knocking on her bedroom door. Biting back the panic she called out “Come in” as she quickly settled herself back down on her bed in what she hoped was a perfectly-in-control pose.

“Mommy! What a surprise! What are you doing here?”

Her mother’s quick eye took in every corner of the room before settling on Aviva.

“Chavi told me you’ve been sick for a week. I assumed something was terribly wrong that you were choosing to hold back from me. Since your father couldn’t take off work I got on a train and came myself.”