11.09.2011

beachwalk

On Michael’s first morning back from a week’s long trip to Virginia we all enjoyed bacon and toast with farm fresh eggs from Milkweed, hand delivered the day before by my friend Lucretia’s sweet boy, Finnegan.

The day was wide open, Calvin having recently given up his afternoon naps, the weather gloriously mild and sunny. “Where should we go?” Michael asked. We never seem to have many ideas because Calvin is such a tough guy to bring places, often collapsing on the ground in stubborn refusal when he doesn’t want to walk. “Why don’t we load the stroller into the car and head to the beach?” It was still early, so we had plenty of time for the forty-minute drive to and from Fort Popham.

I spent much of the ride thwarting Calvin’s attempts at ogling the sun while trying to enjoy the final, fading colors of fall. Clusters of naked birch trees with slender, peeling, whitish trunks peppered endless miles of pines, spruce, maples and oaks. The vibrant reds have mostly gone by leaving acid greens and squash yellows. “Was I supposed to bring the stroller?” Michael asked, knowing the answer to his own question. I just smiled, saw it as an opportunity to try walking Calvin in a new place.

The beach was mostly deserted and as soon as Michael unloaded the kid he bolted for the grassy dunes, seemed immediately taken by them. Close behind, I watched the two of them sink their feet into the soft, uneven sand, Calvin’s weak ankles turning inwards over little mountains of the stuff. We stepped gingerly over a pile of dried reeds, like straw, around tangled bundles of smooth, ashen driftwood and crusty seaweed, then onto the firm hard sand down near the surf. In his customary Labrador manner, Rudy waded into the frigid water and dunked himself right up to his collar. We laughed.

Amazingly, Calvin just kept on walking, like the Energizer Bunny, sometimes holding both of our hands, at others just one, or motoring along with Michael firmly grasping the back of his collar. “Oh, I so wish I could just let go and he’d walk without falling,” I lamented, knowing that Calvin falls easily always risking significant injury, his little arm muscles too weak for the crashing weight of his body, his head. “I know,” Michael empathetically replied.

A warm breeze fingered through my hair. Gazing up into the clear blue I dreamed of a day Calvin and I wouldn’t have to be tethered to each other. A day where we could both be free to skip and walk and run, chase each other through shallow waves and warm sands, arms outstretched in imaginary airplanes. We'd be totally unencumbered—weightless—me not having to hold on to him and Calvin not having to hold on to me. I'm not certain if that day will ever come unless Calvin stops having seizures and doesn't have to take the damn drugs anymore.

"I hope it's not too good to be true," I said, noting his incredible walking which usually occurs just before a bad seizure. "Me too," added Michael. At one point we turned around and Calvin walked back most of the way, then fatigued, so Michael hoisted him up onto his hip. With one arm slung around his daddy’s neck Calvin opened his mouth and gently rested his teeth on Michael’s nose. “Ohhhhhhh—daddykisss!” to which Calvin delighted in giving him three more before we trudged through the tall grasses, Rudy just at our heels, and made our way back home—smiling.

In honor of epilepsy awareness month, please share this story with others. Help bring us one step closer to a cure. 

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