I hope some day I can testify before congress. I think I will.

I remember a day when Calvin was only fifteen months old, back before his epilepsy diagnosis and when we used to travel with him frequently. We were visiting friends in Seattle, and we were sharing a downstairs guest room in their house. Calvin had spent a good part of the night crying and none of us got any sleep.

The next day I was meant to join my two girlfriends, one old and one new, to attend a neighborhood auction. It was May, the weather was gloriously warm and all of the rhododendrons and colorful flowering trees were in full bloom.

My girlfriends were outside on the sloping sidewalk waiting for me while I was trying, in vain, to put Calvin down for a nap. But all he did was cry and cry and cry in what seemed like great pain. Sleep deprived and jet lagged beyond measure, every sorry detail of my demanding existence as Calvin’s mother was magnified, keeping me in a persistent state of emotional fragility. The stress of the cross-country trip, the incessant crying, worry for Calvin and lack of sleep brought me down—hard.

As I finally closed the front door behind me having kissed Michael goodbye, I stumbled down the front steps to join my friends. At seeing their concerned faces I broke down sobbing like I had never done in my life. With my friends flanking me, holding my elbows to support my collapsing body, we walked slowly step by step, as I shuddered and shook, releasing the weight of my world onto their shoulders. They listened.

Four or five blocks later, snot and tears streaming down my face, I began to gain some composure, but only after hundreds of kind words of compassion and love were showered over me by my friends.

My childhood friend told me how she thought that one day I’d be turning all of this grief and strife into positive action, that some day she thought I’d be testifying before congress urging them to help children like mine. We all laughed at what seemed unfathomable at the time, but her words not only planted a seed in my brain, they lifted my head up so I could see the sun that was shining down on me that beautiful spring day.

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