Sundays I love and I loathe. I love them because we usually spend them together as a family, even though we do mindless shit like grocery shopping and going for long car rides, because what else is there to do with a kid like Calvin who can’t do much of anything but a bit of walking, a bit of sitting and a lot of eating these days. I loathe them because Calvin can be a lot of work and Sundays are the days when he is not in school or under the care of a nurse making Sundays feel inordinately and exasperatingly loooooooooooooong.

Yesterday—Sunday—I woke far too early in a thick, black, dreary funk. I tried to take a much needed late morning nap with Michael, yet couldn't sleep, sending me deeper into my despair. The shower didn’t help lift my spirits, nor did the caffeine or the leftover piece of chocolate buche de noel. I was teary and irritable all morning.

“What do you want to do today?” Michael asked, his voice buoyant hoping to cheer me up.
“What I want to do we can’t do,” I groused, explaining that I simply wanted to be able to go to the movies as a family.
“If only we could get Calvin to sit still and watch a film,” I lamented, “things would be so much easier.”

Calvin sat on Michael’s lap drooling profusely and eating cut-up pieces of sandwich, cut-up pieces of breakfast sausage and cut-up pieces of fruit. Every few minutes he’d wiggle his way out of Michael’s grasp to do his usual laps around the house only to return a few minutes later to bang on the table wanting more food.  

“I miss San Francisco,” I whined, folding a few pieces from a mound of clean laundry made up mostly of Calvin's bibs, rags and kerchiefs.
“You miss not having a kid,” Michael said.

The night before I’d dreamed of being back in San Francisco, of roaming the streets and getting lost, of the sun baking my shoulders, of the beach, of the hills, of being independent and I knew, to a great extent, Michael was right. I did miss not having a kid, especially one like Calvin who, though he is ten, has been like a baby for years and will likely be a physically, emotionally and intellectually disabled toddler-of-sorts for the rest of his life.

“Lets go for a long car ride,” Michael finally insisted. So we packed everyone into the car, including Nellie, and Michael took us for a drive. I brought the diapers and the wipes and several bibs, rags and kerchiefs and an extra pair of pants and a shirt for Calvin in case of a blowout. I brought the cut-up pieces of food and some yogurt and cannabis oil and a spoon and a spatula and the vial of rectal Valium which we don’t go anywhere without.

Under a low sky we wound along roads passing stately brick houses, modest mobile homes and a half-burnt two-story that looked inhabited. The open fields flanking the road had melted into a grassy bronze reminding me of the Tanzanian tundra. We cut through soggy bogs where the silver stumps of dead trees rose from the marsh like tombstones in a watery graveyard. After thirty minutes or so Michael slowed then pulled into an icy drive on the left beside a sign that read, Caesar Pond.

“Don’t drive down there,” I cautioned, fearing getting stuck in the ice or of careening into a ditch.

Michael parked at the top and walked Nellie down the road to the pond while I stayed behind feeding Calvin. A few minutes later when they returned, Michael encouraged me.

“It’s really beautiful,” he said, “You should go.”

So, I took Nellie walking gingerly between sheets of ice and muddy ruts. At the base of the hill where the ice had melted I found the pond sleeping, a layer of mist hugging its edges. A raven cawed from atop some craggy branch watching Nellie race around excitedly following her nose. There, in what felt like the middle of nowhere, it was quiet, serene and beautiful and I wished somehow I could stay longer.

Back at the car I slipped in next to Michael this time and, thinking of the pond and releasing my sorrows, I teared up.

“I knew you’d like it,” Michael said, grabbing my hand and smiling into my eyes.
“Thank you,” I said, and kissed him, then we slowly made our way back home where we built a fire, put on some music, folded more laundry, changed a few diapers, gave Calvin a bath, fed him and then ourselves before going to bed early and dreaming, to some extent, of another life.

photo by Michael Kolster


  1. I think it's a beautiful and necessary thing to acknowledge both the loving and the loathing. You've done that here, and it's so very, very beautiful. Peace to you.

  2. Beautiful story, beautifully told. And beautiful picture, I might add. And a very special Michael. and a lovely closing I can visualize. Thanks, Christy.
    On another subject, we saw a dog in the market today with an official label saying "Epilepsy Rescue Dog" Have you heard of dogs trained for this? Sounds intriguing, and probably wonderful.

  3. Thank you again, for always expressing your thoughts so honestly and poetically. I don't have a disabled child, but a chronically ill one, and have been feeling very sorry for myself today. But there is much we can still do, and when I read your blog, I am reminded that in every situation, even those that seem the most dire, there is a glass that is both half empty and half full. I read you, Christy, and am thankful for your words, which always touch me in some way.

  4. When Katie lived at home my blog pretty much read like yours. I would love to have been able to go to a movie together. We tried once with Katie. Just didn't go very well and never tried again. It's the little things like a movie, or having all of my children together that get me the most, even now after all these years. You're not alone.

  5. Oh, Christie, (sigh) I love your honesty. I love that you are unafraid l to say that things are difficult, not ideal right now. It's what I liked about you when I first met you, so REAL, and that is SO cliche I hate to use it, but even "pre-Calvin" I recognized your authenticity. And to be perfectly honest, I think Michael is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or the ball point pen. Or even the invention if the wheel!