gift of a song

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You'll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don't take my sunshine away

The other night dear, as I lay sleepin'
I dreamed, I held you by my side
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken
And I hung my head and I cry

While sitting with my girlfriend beside a rolling fire, a bourbon in my palm, I hear my son sputter, choke and gasp for air. “That doesn’t sound good,” I say, and I sprint upstairs to see Calvin having a seizure in his bed. Teresa comes up to join me and we crouch at Calvin’s side caressing his face and body. In the dim light I can see that his cheeks are flushed and patchy, and he whimpers and clicks and swallows and whimpers again before trying to suck his thumb.

Teresa had arrived just before I put Calvin to bed. From upstairs I’d heard her let herself in, so I called for her to come up. Once upstairs she rounded the corner, greeted me with a hug then joined Calvin on the floor of my bedroom where he was mouthing his favorite toy, a plastic singsong book with a big yellow light-up button that, when pushed, says, “Hi there! Sing with me!” I watched her kneel down, pat and rub his back while talking to him. Her fearlessness and ease impressed me. “Very few people engage with Calvin that way,” I told her. “Most keep at arm’s length.” She went on to explain that her comfort level was probably due to the fact she sees Calvin so frequently at school, but I know differently. It’s just the way that she is. Open. Loving. Unafraid. Compassionate.

After Calvin's seizure, as she strokes his head, Teresa begins to sing You Are My Sunshine in a soft, soothing voice. It’s as if she’s done it a million times before. As I hear her words, her gift of a song, I realize that Calvin is my only sunshine, my only child, and even though he’s tough to take at times I know it’s not his fault. When she gets to the part in the song where it says, “please don’t take my sunshine away,” I find myself silently saying it with her, knowing full well epilepsy can do that sort of thing, can take our children away. Soon, Calvin's lids become heavy and we watch him drift off to sleep under the netted canopy, under invisible stars, under the waning moon that hangs in the sky overhead and under a velvet melody as if written just for him.


  1. My God this touches my heart so much. You both are beautiful women for sharing so much love. I know one of you and the other I would certainly call my hero.