It felt like a Los Angeles morning here today a bit -- that hazy diffuse sunshine, trying to make its way through the clouds (and pollution), with a oceany moistness to the air, and just a tiny hint of cool. It is pleasant and welcomed as I drive my middle son to a doctor's appointment. It is a large practice, always busy, but clean, efficient, and friendly. There is a large fish tank in the middle of the big open waiting room, which always has a few children around it. My son and I walk over to it as well, and there, as always, is the fish that does nothing else but obsessively swim to the top then the bottom on the side of the tank, watching its reflection. Its mouth is very wide and gaping, LIKE A FISH, and it is exotically spotted, but that is as much as I can tell you what it is. I am not a fish expert.

"There he goes, Mom," my son smiles and points out, shrugging his shoulders.

"Ee-yup," I brightly concur as I watch the fish with him. Up and down, up and down, while the other sorts of fish do their respective things, which seem to have quite a bit more variety. It bothers me a bit.

"Why does he do that?"

"I don't know. Maybe he is bored or has mental problems."

"I didn't know fish could have mental problems."

"Well, there ya go."

We leave the crazy ass fish to his Sisyphus-ness and sit down to wait. I see an East Indian couple, with a brand-new baby in a car seat, wrapped in a pink blanket. Her father, with wavy black elaborate hair and a red striped shirt, smiles down at her and says, "Hi, Baby!" His wife is still wearing a maternity top, and I notice when they are called to bring the baby back into the exam room, she is walking pretty damn slowly. Oh, ma'am. It'll get better.

We are called back soon after. My son's doctor is a older man, probably in his 70s, a specialist. He is one of those very rare people whose compassion and empathy is genuine and bountiful, and I imagine that sometimes over the course of all these years in practice, that has made his work very difficult for him. He is the perfect person you would hope to go into medicine -- intelligent, respectful, patient -- and never rushes us out the door. He speaks to my son plainly and listens to him openly. Between the three of us, we make some decisions, plan to meet up again in January, and the doctor wishes my son a good school year and good holidays, and shakes his hand.

Next, I walk my boy over to another room for a flu shot. He is nervous and complains a bit, but this is a walk in the park compared to the major meltdowns he used to have for shots. All three kids were like that -- just out-of-control wild nerves anticipating the pain of the needle. Odd, because I never would make a sound when I was a kid. It was more important to me to look all cool and grown-up. Tears might splurt out of my eyes, but BY GOD, I wasn't going to embarrass myself by yelling or running away or such. I HAVE WIMPY KIDS, OMG! Ha ha. Well, as I said, it's getting better every year.

The visit is over, and I tell my son to wait a minute while I use the bathroom. There is a full length mirror in there, a kindly one. OOH! OOH!, I go, I don't look too bad! I consider removing the huge mirror and running out to the parking lot and lashing it to the top of my car as to take it home with me and my vanity, but I don't. I just wash my hands with antibacterial foamy soap, read about the Washington State regulations for hand washing over the sink as I do, take one more spin in the mirror, and return my son to school. The clouds have mostly burned off, it is getting warmer, the last day, they say, before the chill and rains return again.