night angst

I've been asleep for a while. Michael crawls in and puts his cold, windblown hands against my warm skin and it feels good. Did you have a nice time with Roger? How was the bike ride? We talk tomorrow, I say in a willowy voice before dozing back to sleep.

In a blink, it’s one o’clock and I hear Calvin stir. He’d had a rough evening earlier, probably suffering cramps and or constipation, but luckily he’s been sleeping well so far. I crawl out of bed to check on him, twist the tip of the little blue flashlight casting its dim beam onto his peachy skin. He’s worked his way out of his covers, so I unhitch the safety netting over his bed, reach in and pull the duvet up around his shoulders without waking him, then I smooth his hair and whisper that I love him.

My angst is worse at night for whatever reason. My mind reels in loops of worry about things that wouldn't vex me as much during the day.

i hope the compact gem doesn’t rot and spread its fungus to the others. will the spruce survive? and what if the bosnian pines outgrow their space? they’re just babies but they’re already giants. just like calvin. i hope he’s going to be okay. i wonder what is ailing him. is it the withdrawal? is he impacted? is there a seizure on its way? he’d be so easy to take care of if it weren’t for the wretched seizures and the drugs and their fucking side effects. i should have called mom today. my bones ache. the bed is hard. i wish i could get back to sleep. maybe if i focus on the rain.

And the rain puts me to sleep just as Nellie dream whimpers and wakes me up again. It’s just after two and though the pitter-patter soothes me, I’m sad and stressed. I try to think of things that make me happy. Nothing works. In this moment I can’t conjure sentimental feelings for my husband, don’t enjoy the pleasures of my home, don’t feel aching love for my son. No. I feel hollow and anxious and I know sleep is the only answer. So, once more, I focus on the rain and just as I’m drifting off, I hear Calvin again.

I get up, check on him, go to the bathroom, notice the brightness of the moon as it casts its glow across a room. I drink some water, slip back under the covers and worry some more about the senseless things and the not-so-senseless things:

how much more of this tedium and sleep deprivation can i take? are we weaning calvin’s benzodiazepine too quickly? is the cbd working? how can we be sure? i was stupid to add it when i did. too many variables. will we be able to afford it? will calvin ever get back to being happy? will he ever stop that incessant finger snapping? will he have seizures forever? who is he?

And as my mind begins to wander beyond the worries through the rain to things like ice cream, George Clooney and flowers, I know I am falling asleep, just as I hear the clock strike three.

Photo by Michael Kolster


  1. Oh, this is perfect. I call my night-time self my "psychotic self." What most people feel in the depths of the night -- those dark hours before dawn -- are probably cotton candy compared to what we think about and feel. Sometimes, when I wake up in daylight, I'm embarrassed by myself and the thoughts that I've had earlier.

  2. I've always said that anything we think is true between the hours of midnight and six a.m. are bound to be false but my god! how real they seem.
    As Elizabeth said, most of us can't even imagine how insane those thoughts of mothers with children who have such special needs must feel. I admire all of you more than you will ever know.

  3. YOu write like a dream and so easy to follow, I am happy to discover your blog. How hard it must have been to try and rear a darling like your son with his difficulties.. love does conquer all, but its a very hard road for you all. If they do not know what causes his seizures, maybe one day he might grow out of them, but in any case, just wanted to send you hugs and best wishes from over the pond.. janzi