friday the thirteenth

Though today's date is May twelfth, it's also Friday the thirteenth—thirteen days since Calvin's last observed seizure. How strange it feels to have witnessed my boy have some kind of seizure or another on half of the days last month and then not see any nearly halfway into this one.

This morning, under a still, gray sky, Michael and I went to watch Calvin participate in the local Special Olympics. Despite the fact that it was barely fifty degrees, the most disabled children—the ones in wheelchairs and strollers and using walkers—sat around for two hours while the other disabled children, teens and adults, raced around the track finishing their miles and their four-hundred yard races. Don't ask me why the event coordinators insist on putting the longest events for the healthiest contestants at the beginning of the day. Perhaps there is some method to their madness, but this weighs heavily on me and Calvin because, in one way or another, most days are hard ones for him—suffering seizures, drug side effects, withdrawal side effects, constipation, abdominal discomfort or pain, headaches, agitation, confusion—and so a day outside exposed to the elements of a Maine May no doubt preys on his fragility. Nevertheless, with the help of his ed tech Karen he endured until the start of his hour-late, ten-yard "assisted walk," though not without having had periods of spaciness and eye-fluttering (seizures?) and several attempts, some of them successful, at dropping to the ground throughout morning. He brought up the rear this time, due in great part to a slow start and the absence of an uber-competitive mother tugging him along. When he crossed the finish line, I got down on my knees and hugged my boy, who smiled a huge, proud smile. Not long after, Michael and I loaded him in the car and ferried him away.

Once home, he spun in his jumper, strolled hand-in-hand with me through the garden touching his favorite shrubs (the prickly mugo pine is his favorite) and walked quite well to Woody's, swinging his arms correctly at his side and with good balance (bad omen?). At Woody's, as always, he rocked in the rocker and ate a piece of chocolate from the candy jar.

At the usual time, the bus stopped at the end of our drive to off-load Calvin's stroller which he had sat in for the Special Olympics parade of athletes. Another ed tech, Michelle, handed me a stack of colored papers meant for Calvin, who was upstairs in his bed playing with (mouthing) some of this toys. With the baby monitor slung around my head eighties style, I sat in the bench on our deck, the sun having just come out, reading cards some of Calvin's sixth grade classmates had made him for the day:

Calvin is cool!!
Good luck! Congrats! From: Ashley
Congrats CALVIN!
Good Luck! Nice Job! From Hannah
Good luck. hope you win!! from: your friend connor

Two of them, drawn with great care and skill, made me cry:

Dear Calvin, I hope you have a great time at the Special Olympics and win! But most importantly have fun and enjoy yourself! Sincerely, Simon


Good Luck! Yay! Nice job! From: Lydia :)

I'm hoping that Friday the thirteenth becomes Saturday the fourteenth and so on. I'm hoping that, in the big picture, each day gets a little better than the last. I'm hoping that whatever I am doing will keep working; my guess is that the minuscule amount of THC tincture at midnight on suspicious nights might be thwarting pre-dawn seizures. And I'm hoping that one day Calvin will compete happily and more independently in the Special Olympics without a blink or a drop, a spell or a balk.

Calvin with his ed tech, Karen


  1. Hi there!!! Siobhan here, word on the street is I am going to be Calvin's new teacher. I love that you are writing a blog, 1 : So that I can learn more about him through your eyes and 2: that you are educating others. I will officially be in touch soon and so looking forward to working with your family.

    1. great. please contact me next week so we can talk. thank you.