the here and now

Ten years ago today we were in the clutches of an ice storm when Calvin decided to make his way into the world. He wasn’t supposed to come six weeks early, at least not on his own. Medivac helicopters had been grounded, though, so there was no way we could get to Boston where our team of specialists had scheduled a cesarean the following week. But When Calvin gets it in his mind to do something, we’re hard-pressed to do anything but comply with his wishes. I guess things were no different back then.

Last night Michael and I celebrated our boy’s birthday, which to Calvin, who is oblivious to such things, is a day like any other. Sitting at the bar of a local restaurant we raised a toast to commemorate our son’s tenth spin around the sun. Perhaps more so, we celebrated the fact that we are here now rather than back amidst all the fear, drama, tragedy and uncertainty of birthing a fragile, premature child who we knew was missing a significant amount of white matter in his brain and who might not survive.

Times are still hard and we continue to face similar challenges. We always fear the seizure that won’t stop. Our lives are simultaneously monotonous and dramatic. Every day I am reminded of the tragedy of a boy who cannot talk, cannot walk unassisted, cannot feed himself, cannot use the toilet and is enduring increasing seizures and the sickening reliability of ineffective drugs that stifle his development and cause horrible side effects. Life continues to be nothing but uncertain, with the exception that Calvin will never be a completely healthy, normal boy, nor will he grow into an educated, socially conscious, broad-minded, independent, charitable, worldly man, which is who we would have raised him to be.

And though Calvin is a great source of angst and despair for me, he is also a beacon. He’s a rock star, a celebrity, a sage, a monk, a clown, a maverick, a looker, a sweetheart. Calvin lives in the moment, has no concept of tomorrow and is pleased by simple things like music, nature, water, touch and food. He lives simply in the here and now, lingering in the moment, pausing, if only for a moment, just to watch and listen and feel. Thankfully, he takes me right along.

photo by Ann Anderson


  1. Hi Christy--
    I am a longtime reader, though have never commented. I wanted to say Happy Birthday to Calvin, and to you both. My son Ozzie, who is now 4 and a half, was born 6 weeks early in kidney failure, had a kidney transplant at the age of 2, and has suffered many complications before and after the transplant. When you talk about being back in that time of the scary birth, and the unknown, and the NICU, and the tubes, I feel it in my heart and my gut, and although it levels me for a long moment, I love the idea of just being happy we are not there anymore. Although the future is unknown, and it must be said--could be full of times just as agonizing--being here, now and not there, is truly a cause for celebration and reason to raise a glass. Congratulations to all three of you.

  2. Incredibly sweet photo -- happy birthday to Calvin!

  3. Happy birthday, Calvin! I hope the world was especially satisfying for you yesterday.