ugly duckling

Today I woke up as an ugly duckling with dark oily feathers and a scowling disposition to match. I’m sitting here now in the Portland, Maine Jetport waiting to take off and feeling only slightly better having eaten half of my Snickers bar, much of which is now irritatingly stuck between my teeth.

I suppose the fact that Calvin has been rousing at 4:30 a.m. the past few days did a lot to dampen what might have been a sunny disposition, but at least he didn’t spend the next hour banging the hell out of the bed panel with his head. Nevertheless, he pretty much refused breakfast, kept slapping me in the face, albeit lovingly, and proceeded to bite off and swallow a jagged piece from the end of his hard plastic toothbrush, to which I simply had to drop the F-bomb.

Worry abides. I’ll be gone for a week visiting my eighty-three-year-old mother in San Diego and though I’ve done my best to prepare for the absence I’m still biting my cuticles over a myriad of concerns:

will calvin be okay  will that plastic piece hurt his gut  will he poop it out  will he have a seizure  will michael remember to pick up his meds  will rudy get enough water and walks  will the nurse remember to show up  will calvin be bored out of his mind this weekend  will michael wake up when calvin gets uncovered  will calvin devour splinters from his tray  will calvin start eating better  will the coconut oil help his constipation  will he survive the week without a bad fall  will michael get stressed out  will calvin get sick  will he get the right amount of medicine ...

The drive to the airport was mostly silent until Michael asked, “Are you nervous?” I wondered if he meant about flying or just my usual worry. I told him that I always worry, imagining the girl who just died in her sleep from a seizure, and of the six-year-old boy who had a 48 hour seizure completely out of the blue, went into respiratory arrest, was induced into a coma and—two years later—still suffers seizures daily. “I suppose I worry a little more being gone since I can’t control things ... but I guess I can’t control them anyway.”

About to board the plane and, having written some, I'm feeling a little bit better. I've dislodged all the bits of peanuts from my teeth, I'm experiencing a little sugar high, I'm marveling at some kids half Calvin's size and less than half of Calvin's age who look like Olympians and geniuses compared to him and I'm keenly aware that I have another hunk of Snickers left in my bag. So I guess now it's time for this ugly duckling to take flight. I'll try my very best to leave my worries behind.


  1. Oh, how I wish there were a way to come see you in San Diego. Maybe we can talk on the phone?

    As for worry -- lord, I regularly wonder what would happen in my family if I were to drop dead (or run away). I wonder if anyone would wash the plastic thing in the sippy cup that Sophie uses or whether it would grow mold and no one would notice. Things like that.

  2. mold, yes. that worry too. calvin had a seizure tonight while i was en route. not much more than a week since his last one. i had a feeling that breakthrough seizure would bring on some more. fuck.
    i would love to talk but i don't have a cell. i could call you from my brother's land line if you give me your number. off to bed now. it is 1:30 a.m. my time. xo