Monday, February 25, 2008

Question of the day

At breakfast:

"Mom, when was love invented?"

"Probably when people were invented."

He mulls this for a second.

"I think maybe love was invented when Jesus and Crisis were born."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why we can't sleep at night

Medication seems to leave tracers. In the case of the steroid treatment I just started, it's insomnia -- just can't get to sleep at night. So the other night, exhausted after a week of this, I decided to lay down with my boy and make myself try to sleep early and catch up.

And we laid there. And he kicked and swirled around, burrowed into my arms, twisted around, asked to play the alphabet game ("astronaut"... "baby"... "chinchilla"..), wanted to know how much food we'd have to take if we went camping for a whole month, and I finally smoothed his little head and said "shhhh..."

And, well, that didn't work, so we laid there for a minute and I finally said I was getting up so he could go to sleep, so he'd have energy for school tomorrow.

"Mom?" he said sleepily.


"I know why I can't sleep."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because I can't stop looking at you -- you're so beautiful."

God bless the little children. I tried to see this through his eyes -- not eyes clouded by IVs and exhaustion and over-googling terminal illnesses, but the eyes of a little boy in bed on a Tuesday night: What in this world could be more blissful than laying there, gazing at your own mom, who in your mind is probably as radiant as some biblical-era Madonna? It's got to be a place where all is, indeed, well. Where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. And I was there, with him, in that luminous place. Not just there, but providing the shine itself, even though I thought there was no light left.

So here's a shout out to the universe for frame-shifting moments like these. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Where it's "at"

Laying in bed last night, my boy began naming the words on the word wall in first grade. "At is the first one," he said. He got quiet and considered the implications.

"At is a very famous word."

At is transportation and definition. It takes and places you. It's a tiny two-letter vehicle that minuses the alternatives, and collects everything into a here-and-now-boys place that's clear and cohesive.

" ... I'm at Hollywood," Jack said happily, magically.

I love where he's at. But me? It's not so clear. Moms can't get sick. It's just not done. And yet, that's where we're at. For the past four months, I've watched as my feet then my legs have lost function, to the point I'm in a wheelchair. I've watched the everyday things we take for granted slip away ... taking a hot bath, reaching to open curtains to the snow, getting the day's mail. The world has kept spinning as my peripheral nerves have stopped firing, inch by inch; I've filed stories (mostly) on deadline, as doctors poke and cut and load me with medicines, as we all remain puzzled. And despite it all, no one knows where my body is at.

Jack is right: At is a very famous word. And I am going to keep trying to find it.

Maybe I need my own word wall.