It couldn't have been clearer to me that Calvin would have a seizure by this morning. In his own way, he tells me. I just have to watch and listen. Yesterday, he showed nearly all of the usual, and some not-as-usual, harbingers: bloody nose, whininess, major finger snapping and other repetitive behaviors, pacing, warm hands, uber-rashy butt, agitation, restlessness, intensity, detachment.

At five a.m. it came. Perhaps the extra doses of concentrated THCA cannabis oil just past midnight and at three o'clock impeded its arrival. As I spooned with him after the seizure, I felt how calm his body was, noting the absence of what I call aftershocks—shivering and shudders which often occur in the wake of grand mal seizures. I had no doubt THCA had something to do with his serenity.

Mostly awake since three and therefore exhausted, I still had a hard time relaxing my mind. Lying there, again I considered the world. I feel it going through its own convulsions, having more than its share of anger, hatred and greed, its racists, abusers, tyrants and liars bent on destroying humanity at nearly any cost, lusting for power through intrigue, attempting to avoid capture. What drives these men to such extremes, these gun-toting terrorists, abusers, trolls and bots, these conspiracy theorists, these despots and deceitful oligarchs? Meanwhile, in my arms lies one of the purest souls on earth, a boy who inspires love and compassion, requires my mindfulness and who, though he tries my patience at times, makes me want to live simply and be a better person every day.

Yesterday, when reading about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school students traveling to the Florida state capital to express their desire for the legislature to pass stricter gun control laws, I thought about Calvin. I imagined him being crammed into a closet with twenty others his age, little room to breathe, waiting silently for ninety minutes until the shooter fled the scene. I imagined Calvin—if he were a typical kid—fearing for his life, texting us, being riddled with bullets or sobbing when finally set free. I imagine him, later, boarding a bus with his classmates to march on state capitals and Washington DC demanding changes to gun policy. He'd be that kid. He'd change the world. No doubt he has, in his own way, inspired such things in others and in me.

A former teacher—one who has never met Calvin nor could comprehend the depth of his disability, who had no children of his own much less a non-verbal, incontinent, uncoordinated, delayed, epileptic one—once asked me why I named my blog Calvin's Story, or rather, why I didn't write more often from my son's perspective since it bears his name. I recall being slightly irked and thinking, perhaps even saying to him, that Calvin informs my world, and since he lacks the ability to speak, I must lend my voice to tell his story—which, because we are so inextricably linked, is ours—the one he might have told if he had been born normal. In short, I have to dream. I revisit that question from time to time, checking in with myself to ensure I am doing justice to Calvin's unusual and complicated childhood experience, exploring notions of my own with regard to him hoping I can extract some meaning from it—which is not to say I am searching for answers as to why he was born so afflicted. (Shit just happens, with no inherent reason, no purpose. Prayers prove useless, the absence of God in schools a lame excuse for mass shootings; pedophile priests still lurk in churches.)

This morning, I considered our children's truths and stories as told by themselves and their parents when I heard a former GOP congressman expressing doubt that the teenagers organizing a nationwide rally against guns—thinking the students incapable because of their youth—are doing so of their own volition. Instead, he suggested that they are mere pawns of leftist organizations. Clearly the response was from someone too detached to understand young, informed, impassioned minds, or too partisan, ignorant or cowardly to think, appear or admit otherwise. His lame statement led me to recall the David Bowie lyric I read yesterday from his song Changes:

And these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations, they're quite aware of what they're going through.

I went on to ponder the right-wing conspiracy theorists who've shamefully suggested that the Florida school shooting, along with the Sandy Hook massacre, was a government ruse and that the students are actors. I wonder what in the hell these losers, jerks and trolls want to do to the virtuousness of the world. I can only hope, and work, to squash them all and liberate the truth, and soon.

And so, as my son spasms, so does the world. But there are elixirs. There is cannabis to fight seizures, there are fathers to soothe and mothers to spoon, there are parents and educators teaching their kids honesty and virtue even in—and perhaps owing to—the absence of god in schools, because it is very simply the right thing to do. There is love to conquer hate, knowledge to erase ignorance, truth and fact to crush lies and rumors, compassion to smash fearmongers, misers and fools, virtue to rule over vice, and the voices, bodies and ballots of youth to enlighten, change and lead us, to liberate and save a convulsing world.


  1. Thank you for sharing. As usual , I deeply value your posts.

  2. You are Calvin's voice. I am Katie's voice. She is what keeps me here.

    I was listening to the radio this morning and the argument was brought forward that mental illness and crazy people need to be treated, that guns are not the problem in the US. Why can't the US do both? Take better care of people with mental illness and stop the sale of assault rifles? It doesn't have to be either or, it can be both.

    1. not possible for our Presidunce, like tweeting and chewing gum at the same time

  3. And Bowie continues:
    (Turn and face the strange)
    Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
    (Turn and face the strange)
    Where's your shame
    You've left us up to our necks in it
    Time may change me
    But you can't trace time

    Strange fascination, fascinating me
    Changes are taking the pace
    I'm going through