6 pm and the kids are in bed. I remember the days when I loved the fall side of daylight savings. Back when I could stay an extra hour at the bar, sleep in an extra hour in the morning. Stay up later that night. Oh the days before children. I have a feeling I’ll be up somewhere around 5am (instead of 6 or 7) tomorrow, so I’ll write fast.
Well, amazingly some of you missed my blog last week! I’m so glad that some of you are enjoying this as much as me. It’s such a great way to document life, as well as to give friends (and hopefully not stalkers) some more intimate details of our family’s inner workings.
So, without further ado…
To be honest, I did sit here for a while last week and write a little bit, but decided not to publish it because it started out a little morbid, and I couldn’t swing it around to a happy spot. My week this week wasn’t much better – the only difference being now I feel like I need to put it out there into blog land, and I’ll try harder to bring it around.
So, last week I went up to Vermont, for what was planned to be a paint run, but what turned out to be a funeral. My father’s cousin and life long best friend died after being sick for many, many years with heart problems and diabetes. While I was up north I had plenty of time to think about some people I’ve lost recently. My grandmother, who was pushing 101, my other grandmother who was in her 80s and smoked at least two packs of cigarettes since age 13, a friend with a 7 year heroin addiction. All terminal conditions really. It never makes it less of a shock when they go, or less of a loss.
But we get over these things. We move forward and remember who they were, what they taught us. With one exception I think. And that is the loss of a child. Now I really don’t want to get too dark here, but I’m going to say this anyway, because it’s been on my mind this week. And I know as parents (which most of you are) you think about it too.
I’m going to share a quote from a short story I was reading before bed last night about a couple trying to decide whether or not to have a child.
“Immortality is the wrong reason. Having a child wouldn’t make you immortal. It would make you twice as mortal. It’s just one more life you could possibly lose, besides your own. Two more eyes to be put out, and ten more toes to get caught under the mower.”
There is also a quote that Matty put on a picture frame he gave to me on my first Mother’s Day. “Having a child is a momentous decision. It’s deciding to have your heart go walking outside your body.”
So these thoughts are always with me. Dormant most of the time, thankfully. But there are times when they awaken – like when a child was carried out to sea and killed by a rogue wave at Acadia National Park the day after we had been standing in the exact same spot. Like when I got an email from my brother telling me that a woman in his office lost her first grader over the weekend, just as my child is spiking a fever.
Anyway, this is going down the wrong road, but sometimes a theme appears in your life, and you have to go with it until it ends. But I will stop with this now, and move to a theory on fever I would much rather believe.
Emerson had a really hard week this week – arguing everything under the sun, whining, all the rest. I thought she was just tired from our trip until I talked to her teacher at our conference on Thursday. She told me that Emerson was having a “great” week at school, really coming out, and showing a lot more confidence. The evening after the parent conference, Emerson climbed in bed with me complaining of a headache, and burning hot.
So here’s another part of parenting that has always been difficult for me. The entire idea of equilibrium and disequilibrium. You go through months thinking everything is going great, and then out of nowhere, something in your child changes. With Emerson it usually lasts a week, and usually brings out the worst behavior she has. And every time, instead of recognizing her reaching out in a time of confusion, I have my worst moments in parenting. Ugh.
But those little bodies have ways of dealing with it. They get hot. And those fevers precipitate change. So over the past few days, I lay with Emerson and let the change come over. She’s fever free now. Her fever broke in time for her to go out for Halloween. “The night that people walk around” is what she calls it. And we’ll see who she becomes next week.
And of course there is the scared side of me that hopes Ophelia doesn’t catch whatever she had, but I will be override that with positive energy for now. Hopefully sickness was last weeks theme.
So no photos with this one. I’ll defer to another quote from the same story.
“… I was over overcome with color and the intensity of my life. In these moments we are driven to try to and hoard happiness by taking photographs, but I know better. The important thing was what the colors stood for, the taste of hard apples and the exact quality of the sun on that last warm day in October. A photograph would have flattened the scene into a happy moment, whereas what I felt was gut rapture. The fleeting certainty that I deserved the space I’d been taking on this earth, and all the air I had breathed.”