as good as it gets

Our Independence Day holiday was about as good as it gets. That’s saying a whole lot while at the same time it’s not saying much.

On Tuesday we got an invitation to spend the holiday with our friends Luke and Sarah and their boy Jacob who shares many things in common with Calvin, though not seizures. We spent the afternoon at Sarah’s handsome childhood home, which sits on a sloping lawn above a cliff overlooking the sea. The breeze was fresh and salty and offered respite from the hot sun. Michael took first turn walking Calvin around by his hand and harness. Calvin explored their house and happily banged on our group of parked cars until his hands were black as soot. Luke served Sarah and I vodka tonics in aqua-tinted glasses and, for a moment, out there on the back deck—Calvin-less—I felt as if I were on cloud nine.

When my glass was half-full I relieved Michael so that he could get some downtime, too. Luke and Sarah did the same tag-teaming since Jacob, six, also needs assistance walking, his balance and control being just slightly better than Calvin's though not good enough to be completely safe on his own. These boys of ours are getting bigger, roughly forty pounds and inching up, though they still have no protective reflexes when they fall backwards, so we must be there to prevent injury from a bad fall. For us, as their mothers, it’s like spending our lives with one hand tied behind our backs with a precarious, fragile, forty-pound weight attached to it. Try to get anything done that way. You can’t.

We enjoyed some amazing pan-fried buns chalk full of lobster meat and mayonnaise, corn, hot dogs and a delicious potato, egg, Greek olive and haricot vert salad that Michael made. After dinner Sarah and I took Jacob and Calvin for a quick walk in the strollers down to a rocky beach where her husband had proposed to her. Calvin got out, we abandoned the stroller, and he walked loosey-goosey part way down and part way back before I had to pick him up and carry him.

All in all the holiday was a winner—save some kid-related stress—what with afternoon drinks, great weather, a gorgeous view, delicious food, a relaxed location and, most of all, dear friends who deeply understand our situation, and who love and support us. The invitation alone, a rarity for our family to receive especially since Calvin’s birth, made our day. But there was something missing. It wasn’t as good as it gets ... I’m not sure that will ever be possible again. I told Sarah as we were packing up to leave, “I just wish our boys could run off and play with other children while we sit and enjoy adult time.” She replied softly, “I know,” and we hugged and walked a few steps with our arms draped around each other just as we began hearing the pop and crack of neighborhood fireworks, some no doubt being lit by a bunch of healthy little kids.

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