friday faves - envy

Sometimes I find myself looking back, second guessing, grieving over the fact that we didn’t have a another child. But when I mull over the memories, the images, the facts—both emotionally and logically—it never really makes sense to have done so, or perhaps I’m just trying to make myself feel better.

Of course, there is more than a smattering of loss I feel for the healthy child we never had, and plenty of envy of the masses of strange couples who, inside my head, seem to flaunt their healthy kids, effortlessly performing calisthenics with their babbling fat babies as I try in vain to support my restless, sick, irritable child who can’t even stand up by himself, while worrying he’s about to have a seizure. If only they knew their good fortune. Perhaps, seeing the calamity which is us, they do.

We wanted a simple life, to focus on just one child, and if perchance we decided we wanted more children later, well, there are so many orphans out there who need a good home and a loving family, we thought. But when the reality of our difficult situation started sinking in and we began extrapolating life with Calvin I found myself yearning for another child—a healthy child. I selfishly wanted a child who could walk by himself, a child who could feed herself, a child who could speak, run, play, read, play music, dance, make art, write, even simply use the toilet. I wanted to teach her to drive, to send him to college, have philosophical conversations, meet his first girlfriend, tell her my thoughts about the universe, see her pregnant belly, love his children. The missed opportunities are infinite.

But then I see how far Calvin has come since the day his former neurologist told us he might never walk. I remember the hours upon hours I spent on my hands and knees teaching him to crawl when he was just tiny tot in my arms. I recount the days, weeks, months and years that I have followed Calvin around the house, harness reins in one hand, the other stretched out to catch a bump or fall. I’m aware of the countless trips spotting him up the stairs, then scooching step by step beside him on the way down. Now he can, almost consistently, climb into the tub on his own. He has mastered the art of walking up and down the stairs holding the banister by himself while we spot. He helps us dress and undress him a little. All of these things seem like minor miracles and are celebrated as such.

And then there is his health. If we had another child would I have caught Calvin's seizures in time to prevent a fatal outcome? Would I have woken to the cries that send him into a quivering mass of spasms? Would I have had the time to attend properly to his medical needs, wrangle with the infinite health insurance red-tape, manage the stack of drug prescriptions, train nurse after nurse after nurse, weigh each exacting meal, watch his every move in case of another seizure, another fall?

If we had another child what would they be feeling, experiencing? Neglect? Perhaps not, but it crosses my mind. I have read many stories written by parents of disabled children, and children with epilepsy, whose siblings suffer as a result. But that is life, right?

My gut tells me that if we had other children Calvin might still be hanging in a pathetic limbo unable to do much at all. My family tells me as much, that we've facilitated a lot of his development by sheer (wo)manpower, time and attention. Otherwise, would we have had to sequester him to a wheelchair, a walker, a bed, an institution? Instead, he’s making gains, he’s happy and he’s developing. Most of all we get to spend untold hours simply in each others' embrace. And for that, others might just be envious of me.

Originally published 5.15.11.

Please share.
Give to cure epilepsy: http://www.calvinscure.com

No comments:

Post a Comment