one little universe

One house, in Maine, shrouded now in rain and clouds. One loving, mangy, grizzled shit-for-breath dog who sleeps most of the time these days. One husband-cook-photographer-professor-lover-friend-companion who makes me smile and scowl and laugh and dream. One crazy-ass nine-year-old kid who drives me nuts with his drugged-up torturous cough-whine and flailing limbs, but who also melts me into a heap of love and tears. One entire downstairs space sectioned into smaller ones adjoined by open passages and lit with natural and incandescent light warming my soul. Eight vials of rectal valium placed in various inconspicuous, conspicuous spots awaiting the arrival of one big, bad seizure. One bookcase, one table, one pair of shutters, one tray all scraped, worn and stained from years of our son’s gnawing and drool. One guitar standing alone against the wall waiting for Michael to play his one, decade-old original song, Why Did I move to Maine?

One yard, which I gaze out on dreaming of spring, now quenched and glistening and likely strewn with bits of Rudy poop. One strand of tiny lights framing the windows around my desk. One desk with one working laptop and another busted. One camera, one lamp, one back-up hard drive, one calendar scrawled with appointments and highlighted orange on seizure days. Two clocks ticking off the slow minutes of this oft monotonous life. One industrial-strength johnny-jump-up splitting at the seams, draped with ragged chew toys and twisted bandanas resembling, at times, Tibetan prayer flags. One child buckled into said jumper incessantly poking his eye rendering the distinct possibility of another corrective surgery.

One kitchen with the lingering smell of coffee, its refrigerator crammed with yogurt, fruit smoothie, mango and papaya, cheese and olives, chicken sausage, turkey soup, sour cream, stuffing, salad greens, red onions, avocados, mayonnaise, mustard, milk, wine and beer. Two empty bourbon bottles sitting on the counter near a half-full pan of fudge brownies. One drawer packed with Keppra and Onfi and magnesium citrate and multivitamins and aspirin and pill cutters and a bottle of unused Omeprazol and acetaminophen and ibuprofin and melatonin and deglycerized licorice and unused prebiotic and rags and bibs and syringes and pill boxes.

One library chair cradling one leather backpack stuffed with clean kerchiefs, a stack of rubber-banded hospital cards, Chapstick, a vial of rectal valium and one 1990s Nokia Tracfone for urgent use only.

Every single wall in the house stamped with dirty little handprints yea high. Every rug woven with dog hair and crumbs. Every waist-high window dappled with dried drool. Every wooden floor laced with little dust bunnies.

One upstairs room packed with diapers and wipes and suppositories and thermometers and latex gloves and pain killers and salves and creams. One crappy stethoscope. One equally crappy oxygen-saturation monitor. One baby monitor receiver hooked into the netted canopy above Calvin’s bed. One wall flanking his too-small changing table scarred with blackish kick marks. One dresser brimming with Salvation Army-bought size six and seven clothes for my nine-year-old boy. One mini flashlight for peaking in on him in the dark. One wooden stepping stool to help me reach and reposition him at night.

Two new neighbors and their parents, who all seem to be very nice, thankfully fixing up the dilapidated house next door. One small town with nice restaurants and their wonderful owners in which to drink and dine with friends.

One mother, three-thousand miles away, with advanced Alzheimer’s, but who usually still remembers my voice and, while on the phone, asks me every few minutes, “When are you coming to see me?” Four brothers, all in the West, one who doesn’t speak with any of us anymore. One semi-retired sister bobbing from coast to coast, sometimes making it up to Maine. One nurse who loves my son and makes my life so much better.

One fifty-year-old body softened by hours of writing and no real exercise to speak of, except this morning when it danced itself into a sweat to some wicked acid jazz. Ahhhhh. One face beginning to show its age, though not to worry. Several grey hairs pleasingly frosting one head. One psyche eroded by worry, weary from lack of sleep, aching from want. One memory full of travel to distant places, of fearless adventuring, of living at times amongst strangers who became friends, of another life, of old friends, of swimming in the Kenyan sea, of climbing mountains, of surfing naked in the Golden Gate. 

One quest to stop my son’s seizures and to help him feel, at the very least, a little bit better while he’s here on earth. One international village, several-thousand strong, which helps me do it. One small family who mean more to me than the world itself. One mind to write and research and to keep going strong, to never give up. One extraordinary boy who inspires me to be the best person that I can. One little universe within a larger one from which I can see a billion stars at times and dream of the endless possibilities simply because I can.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. Oh my, Christy, you have opened your whole life to us....I feel I know you as intimately as one can know another human being...almost.. Your humanity oozes out of every word, and it links you to every living soul out there...including mine. Is it hackneyed to say we are all in this together???

  2. A really tender picture of your life. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Gorgeous home, gorgeous words, gorgeous window into your life.