rough patch

Throughout the film Tully, watching her I saw myself in a thick, frumpy Charlize Theron screaming at her unhinged kids from behind the wheel of a car. I saw a slice of my life in nearly every one of her scenes—moaning in pain from engorged breasts, wincing at cracked nipples, slouching hopeless in a robe with a frowning mouth and sleep-deprived eyes. I watched her chop food into bite-sized bits, neglect housework for days, advocate for her "quirky" child at an ill-equipped school, field scowls from disapproving strangers, surrender what had been an exciting life to be a devotee of family and home.

In any given month our son suffers more than a handful of seizures, countless manic outbursts, tantrums, restless days and nights, the occasional night terror, and—for me—incessant monotony. As Calvin's mom I likely suffer from what other mothers of disabled epileptic children sometimes call Persistent Traumatic Stress Disorder—stress resulting from the accumulation of past and present strain plus the dread of a bleak future for ourselves and our children.

When I see friends around town, having read my blog they often say, "Sounds like you guys are going through a rough patch." What they may not realize is that this rough patch has lasted fourteen-and-a-half years. Since two weeks before Calvin's birth, when we found out he was missing a significant amount of the white matter in his brain, the burden hasn't let up in any substantial ways. Furthermore, outside pressures—reeling from a friend's suicide, confronting maddening issues with Calvin's school, the difficulty managing his illnesses, the lack of a nurse to help us a little, the current circus-of-an-administration and it's shameful treatment of a sexual abuse victim—add to the strain.

Today, I'm at home with a sick kid who, as a result, had grand mal seizures on consecutive days. He isn't eating or drinking and can't tell me what hurts, nor can he seem to remain calm for more than a few minutes before getting up and pacing restlessly.

So, I guess—like Charlize's Tully does—I should admit we're in a bit of a rough patch. I should soldier on through it, relax once Mary gets here to help us out so we can go celebrate our anniversary, and remember that tomorrow is a brand new day.

Photo by Michael Kolster

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