Since just before Calvin’s birth we have been bombarded by an array of challenges dealing with his health, the medical establishment and simply learning to cope with the loss, grief, stress and complication that accompany having a child with disabilities and with epilepsy. Our lives quickly became jam-packed with appointments to see dozens of specialists for Calvin’s various health and developmental concerns. This frequent and regular exposure to unknown territory—both emotional and literal—and characterized as much by our fatigue as by our bloated calendar, felt as if we were experiencing in one year what another might experience in the course of several years or perhaps even over a lifetime.
Coupled with this intense, insane pace and its steep learning curve, and contributing to the Calvin Quotient, is the nature of Calvin’s development itself, which has always been painfully and utterly protracted. New skills have taken Calvin weeks, months, sometimes years to develop, and at times have been all together lost due to seizures and drug side effects. One could say that Calvin is six going on one or two.
So, while perhaps time flies when you’re having fun, and contrary to what one might think having read what I have just written, I have found great reward in Calvin’s quotient. That is not to say that I don’t wish every day that things were different. Of course I, like any parent, wish that Calvin was healthy and better able to explore a child’s world of possibilities. But, he is not, and because he is not I have learned a great deal, about things I'd never have imagined, in very little time. I have felt depth of emotion I'd never felt before. I revel in spending hours upon hours watching him, touching him, listening to him and all the time in awe of him. We while away the hours in each other's presence—in each other's arms. No, my boy Calvin is not growing up too fast.
|Halloween 2010 photo by Michael Kolster