Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fade Into You or, The Secret Life of Becca and Jude

We have these two lovely counselors at the community center. Wendy has been doing play therapy with Jude for years, helping him put intense emotions into words. Elana has been working with me, helping me, well, put intense emotions into words. These nice, capable people have their work cut out for them. In the words of my mother: "They don't pay those girls enough." Of course we have no idea what their salaries are, but unless I see Wendy on "Cribs" I am going to assume they are not paid what they are worth. 

We have been combining therapy, helping Jude with his separation anxiety and helping me with the same, teaching me to set boundaries with Jude, not appeasing him all the time, treating him like any other child. Dealing with my anxiety about being away or separate from him.

We were doing well until the seizures started.

Let me tell you I am not a newbie when it comes to terrified parenting.  I have two kids who could whack their heads on a coffee table and spend the week in ICU. I used to the whole High Alert thing. Seizures, though, are new, unpredictable, and oh god so scary. So I must admit I have backslidden just a bit. 

Every night I kiss Don goodnight and slip into bed with Jude. This is the only way I can know he is not silently seizing at night. Not the best scenario, I know. Gimme another idea, I am all ears.

Jude is likely to wake up and want to look at a book with me. Or reenact episodes of PBS kids. The other night I awoke to a flashlight in my face. I was supposed to say, "Jude Hill is a blockhead, but he did pick nice tree." Jude says, "It just needs a little love." Don came in all sleepy eyes just as we were waving our hands in front of the flashlight and singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." "What are you doing?" he asked, and like two kids caught playing past lights out at a slumber party we jumped back into bed.

I have long taken bubble baths to try to de stress. They are somewhat successful, with interruptions like Eden's red head appearing and his subsequent insistence that no one wipes his behind properly but me, lost hamsters. 
and Daddy forgetting he is watching the kids and going to the store. Now, however, Jude cannot stand even this separation, and I have learned enough from Wendy and Elana to know that it because I am scared, and that is the message that Jude gets, that he will not be okay if I am not with him. I am trying so hard to believe that he is, in fact, fine, that angels follow him and when he is not with me he is with people who love him. But for now this is the best we can do. So I hide the best I can under the bubbles while Bertie the Bus navigates the edge of the tub, trying not to fall into the drink, the white abyss.  This is not healthy, he is too old to be in here while I am naked, but for now we need to be sure of one another, having almost been separated for a long, long time, whether we wanted to be or not. We have used this reprieve, this second chance to circle the wagons, regroup, and pretend like nothing bad can happen if we close our eyes and just know that we are. 

In a little while, we will be ready, or I will, to be brave again. To let go again. Wave goodbye again. Say goodnight again. Close our eyes and remember that mercy, like love, doesn't forget, or fade, or duck out the back for a smoke.  Some things don't disappear, even if you can't see them, even if they are hidden from view.

Friday, January 9, 2009

If You Say So

Look at the stars, my pastor says. Just like God said to Abraham, look at the stars and what does God have for you, ask Him what does He have for you.


I close my eyes, and the light shines through my eyelids, and someone coughs and a baby stirs, and God says, JOY. For you, Rebecca, I promise you joy.




Not what I was expecting, nor what I would have asked for, but okay. I look around, everyone elses's eyes are still closed.  It seems incongruent, here ya go, three ailing children, lots of stress and JOY! Yea. Thanks.

 The next week a different pastor is speaking, and I am distracted, looking out at the snow, worried about Jude and how he is tolerating his latest antiseizure medicine. I am snapped awake at the sermon title.


 I smile to myself and look again at the snow. The city looks so clean right after it snows, for a little while, anyway.


Joy, says the pastor, is not something so far off that we have to look forward to. It is something we can practice, walk in., embrace. Joy is something we can choose, for it is always right there, waiting.


Okay, I get it. And when I get home there it is tickle time, all three boys and Dad piled on the rug, screaming with laughter, the house a wreck, and all the coffee is gone.


Joy. Okay. I can do that. And I step over the pile of shrieking elbows and legs to make some coffee. Today, I think, I will practice me some joy.


I am waiting quietly with my hands folded, watching as a toddler sleeps, waiting for the short bus as it winds through dirty streets and sitting in waiting rooms with magazines and paper cups with bad coffee on a cold, cold day. Not saying what you really need to hear and waiting for you to come to it, the truth I see so plain. I am joy right  now, wishing for later, waiting waiting waiting. Waiting is a dream, plowing hard rocky land and patting it down again, watching, waiting for rain and taking a long, deep breath and waiting again. I am silent and unrequited. I do not move.


Love is a vigil, old hands and a disinfectant smell and pants that used to fit, and a filing of memories good and bad, no I will not forget they are right here in my pocket and I promise to take them out once in awhile so you do not disappear. I am here and I do not move, I do not forget and I am waiting, waiting for you to speak, to walk, to come to your senses, to take flight, waiting for you to die. When you are gone you will wait for me, with longing, with love.


I am love, I do not sway. I breathe, I wait, I watch. I do not disappear.