all the little children

Though still icy and white outside, for some reason the world looked black to me this morning. Perhaps because it was so goddamn windy, the temperature still hovering around nine degrees. Or, perhaps because of Calvin, the reason I can never sleep in past five o'clock these days. Maybe it was because I hadn't had my caffeine or that I’m weary walking circles with my disabled boy, of spooning in his seizure medicines and of wiping away his drool.

When I finally sat down and read the news about seven siblings who perished in a Brooklyn blaze early Saturday morning, it made me think of what Michael had said earlier, hoping to ease my way: things could be a whole lot worse.

After Calvin left for school, I downed my coffee, had a bite to eat, then bundled up to take Nellie for a walk. I strolled slowly, studying the pitted frozen pools at my feet. I kept imagining all the little children, ages five to sixteen, and wondered how their parents and their sister are going to cope.

As I walked, I held a kind of silent vigil for them and for all the lost children whose parents I’ve known. I first thought of Kari, a bright, most beautiful girl whom Leukemia claimed when we were both teens. I thought of Jennifer, who at seven lost her battle to cancer, too. And of Rainier, who, in the wee hours after entering the world early, couldn’t hold on. I recalled Lily and Rose, flowers of girls who never breathed their first breath, and of little Katie, too. And of sweet Kelli who epilepsy took when she was just fourteen. At twenty-three my friend Martin went down in a plane along with his dad, and the maid of honor at a wedding I was in lost her nine-year-old girl to a bullet at Gabriel Gifford’s ordeal. Childhood friends lost their young son to kidney failure, others lost their children to drug overdoses while still others took their own lives.

When I got back from my walk I remembered last night on the futon when a smiling Calvin was smothering us both with hugs, Nellie by our sides. I had said to Michael that we have a nice family. As I cleaned up this morning’s dishes and hung sopping bibs to dry, I considered my boy Calvin, who, though he will likely never utter a word, is here now, and is as pure as the rain which I hope will soon be melting away this icy cold.


  1. so full of heart. and dear Calvin keeps you full.....

  2. You *do* have a beautiful, loving, family.
    Your reflections today are like the classic Buddhist parable of the mustard seed, where the Buddha comforts a widow who just lost her only child, by asking her to bring him a mustard seed from a house where no one had died. In her search for the seed she realized that everyone faces sorrow and loss, and gained strength to cope.

  3. Dear Christy,
    I am a mom of a girl, who suffers from seizures. I am also someone who knows that God loves us, and He loves our children, and all the children, even more than we do... Some day we will know all the answers.... I read in one of your posts may be last year, that you sometimes wondered what Calvin would be like if he didn't have epilepsy, what he would be like as a person... I wanted to share a thought with you about this then, but didn't dare because I was a coward, but I will share it with you now...For some reason, I do not know if it is God, but for more than a year I have been resisting telling you this thought that pops in my mind when I think of you and Calvin. So here is the thought: In heaven, Calvin will be completely free, because there is no disease there, Calvin will be exactly the way God made him to be, without the effects of the epilepsy, will be able to speak, just be himself, happy and free, one day.... And God asks you to be there, too, to be able to see Calvin, and so Calvin's joy will be complete...

    Special thoughts and prayers for strength and hope: Svetlana, from Bulgaria

    1. dear svetlana,
      thank you for your kind sentiments. you may know by now, however, from reading my posts that i do not believe in god or heaven, at least not the kind that scripture describes. i do believe, though, that when calvin dies he will be released from any suffering he may have had to endure in this life, and this knowledge alone is enough to calm my worries. in essence, and by definition, he'll be one with the earth and the starts and the universe when his ashes are scattered in the wind and the sea.