dear friend

now i will be strong for you. i can. you will stay in my thoughts and you will shine. i know. focus on the little things. the smell of your coffee, the feeling of the sun on your face. the wind in your hair. the quiet of a back road. the taste of clover and salt in the air. the warmth of a loved one's hand. the feeling and sound of the ground under your feet ... tarmac ... carpet ... tile ... wood ... rubber ... linoleum ... sand .... grass. the happy din of knives and forks on a plate. the rich taste of dark chocolate. the sound of bees and birds and brooks—even the memory of them. the color of the sky at dawn. at noon. at dusk. in the middle of the night. the patter of rain on a metal roof. the beauty of wilting flowers. the happy creases in the corners of smiling eyes. the long embrace of a friend. the light caress of shower water as it trickles down your back. the smoothness of soap in your hand. the buzz of a crowd. linger on these little things and let them move you. let them make you weep. they can be a joy in and of themselves. let the other big stuff take a backseat, if only for a moment. know you will remain in my thoughts. know i will listen and be there for you. as you have been for me. because, despite my own burdens (everyone has them) i have an infinite reserve of strength for you.



Despite the fact that nineteen and a half years of stress, sleep deprivation, and frustration from raising Calvin has likely shaved a few years off of my life, in my mind, spirit, and most parts of my body I still feel thirty-six. Regardless, I woke up this morning entering my sixtieth year of life, and though the wee hours of my birthday began with a restless Calvin suffering from some sort of pain, from my perspective—one in which I try to practice gratitude, even for the mundane—life still looks decently rosy.

That fact is a testament that we humans are resilient as shit, most of us able to handle the nasty curveballs hurled our way at different times in our life. I don't believe in the notion that everything happens for a reason and/or that God doesn't give us more than we can handle (I don't believe in that kind of god, anyway) because I have seen pain and anguish push people I love over the brink. However, I do believe there is a lot of good most of us can glean from bad things that happen to us. We can find the generous pluses, for instance, amid the scores of miserable minuses that a disabled child brings in the form of loss, guilt, despair, anger, resentment, heartache, suffering, pain, sorrow, hopelessness, envy, frustration, doubt. My sweet Calvin has brought me joy, love, patience, empathy and the rare chance to witness a life that, if it weren't for his physical pain, is as close to nirvana as any human might hope to get.

I have learned from Calvin how trivial material desires can be, how petty some quarrels are, and I am getting better at understanding how little it matters that he can't run on a cross-country team, can't speak two languages—much less one—can't excel in math and science, can't work a computer, can't even trick-or-treat. Daily, I hear stories of children—and their parents—who deal with seizures or hunger or pain or disease far more heinous than Calvin's circumstance. And I feel so grateful that Calvin is simply warm and dry and safe and mostly happy and living with a forever-evolving sixty-year-old mom who feels twenty-plus years younger, and still feels up to taking on the world.