today, i twice drove out to simpson's point to unwind. the still waters of yesterday had been replaced by endless tiny whitecaps lapping the shore. i cut the engine. with the window down and my kid in the backseat chewing his shoe, i simply sat with the sun in my lap and listened to the world.
to be honest, this yearlong stint taking care of calvin all day every day is taking its toll on me. at times, he's the sweetest child that exists. at others, he totally grates on my nerves. it doesn't help that i don't always know what ails him. time spent with him is at once fulfilling and taxing. stressful and relaxing. unnerving and mundane in impossibly beautiful and tragic ways.
after seventeen years, still i sit with my grief. though mostly upbeat, i'm reminded of my loss on a daily basis. today, i saw a mother in a front yard making a chain of big, iridescent bubbles for her toddler to chase. i watched two boys on the sidewalk bouncing a basketball between them. i saw college students rolling by on boards and four-wheeled skates—all things calvin will never be able to undertake.
i'm mostly home still raising a seventeen-year-old baby—spoon-feeding, changing diapers, cradling. the grief, however, isn't nearly as debilitating as it used to be. i no longer double over on the street. i no longer buckle—sobbing—between friends holding me up as i drag my feet. i no longer weep while swimming, tasting tears, sweat, soda ash and chlorine. but the loss of not having had a healthy child stays with me. like rings inside a tree. or crystals inside a geode. it's enduring. it's in the silent hours of a child who can't speak. it's in the way he sometimes moans and growls, shrieks and seizes. it's in the endless days' emptiness. the broken promises of parenthood. the conspicuous lack of a child's questions—about math, life, the moon and stars, love and justice. the loss persists in the inability of knowing his hopes, dreads and dreams. it's in the absence of his friendships, sweethearts, heartbreaks, epiphanies, all of which would be full of meaning and feeling, and not just for him.
sometimes, i find myself pining for the still waters of yesterday. of the time when i was childfree. perhaps back when i was single. of the days when i was still climbing trees. but then, as i watch the waves' unceasing action against the rocky shore, i realize how life now—with my messed-up kid—is ridiculously rich with roller coaster loops and dives and turns, breathtaking and rare perspectives, and spectacular, transformative waves, the likes of which still waters might be envious.
|The still waters of yesterday|