Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's 1:27 p.m. and I'm trying to type really quietly so as not to wake up Malko, a.k.a. Harbinger Of Noisy Destruction. He finally fell asleep around 12 after yelling "PAPA'S BED!! PAPA'S BED!!" no less than 180 times, during which I gritted my teeth and sent him the telepathic message Suck It. I'm all about respecting my needs, yo, and my needs were telling me to ignore his insane, demented, loud, obnoxious demands to "take a nap" in the parental bed. My needs were that he needed to shut the hell up. In his bed.

Funny I should talk so roughly about my child after having a little breakdown, yesterday, about the impermanence of life--specifically, about the unrelenting possibility of one's child getting sick or having an accident and everything quickly turning into a nightmare. I recently learned that one of Malko's nannies, Jessica*, lost a child to cancer years ago, and putting that knowledge next to her ever-smiling, uncomplaining face was a shock. I've always wondered how people who've lost a child go on, how they manage to act normal, and to be so physically close to Jessica's reality--to witness, in a way, what I imagine is a constant struggle--was more than a little moving. I imagined myself in her shoes, working as a nanny thousands of miles away from the country she grew up in, from the place where her seven-year-old son died. How does she do it? How does she look at Malko, the same age her son was when he got sick, without bursting into tears? How does she keep it together?

I try not to think about this kind of thing--children dying--too much, but the fear, the worries, the thoughts are always floating around on the periphery, and sometimes I think that's a good thing: it makes me appreciate what I have. Believe me, I know what a ridiculously perfect life I have: our kids are healthy and happy, we have a comfortable home, we have safe water to drink and lots of food to eat. We have loving family and friends, and luxuries beyond belief.

I try to appreciate these things daily, to really think about how lucky I am, and most days, to a certain degree, I'm able to sustain awareness of our good fortune. Sometimes, though, like today before Malko fell asleep, I revert to the me who bitches and complains, who wishes my kid would shut the hell up so I can sit down and finally, finally write an entry in my blog, an entry that says, I hope, how much I love him.

*not her real name


Skye Howell said...

Love it. We are truly so very blessed. I was asked to do an interview regarding the funding cuts my families who have a child with a disability are facing due to the inane misconceptions and utter incompetence of the legislature surrounding "entitlement" programs. We got footage taking a young man with Autism rock climbing at Main Event. A young man who has a hard time articulating basic needs like going to the bathroom or eating. A young man who without 24/7 supervision would get run over by a car crossing the parking lot as he is entranced by fixating on the sliding glass doors. A young man who without community based therapeutic services would regress in his vocabulary and abilities to express the choices of what he would like to do with his day. I think about how overwhelmed I am when I get sick. What if I were his parent and got really ill and could not give him the constant attention he requires. It is not optional. Yet his folks do it daily and love him so much. Having a session with him and watching him discover rock climbing or driving a go cart on his own and hearing him say "miss Skye, I did it all by myself" is what makes it all worth for me. But to try to explain it to the yahoos on Capitol Hill who simply lump people into dollars and cents...Count your blessings, everyone, you have many.

Isabel said...

Skye, thanks for your comment. I can definitely see how your work helps you feel grateful for what you have. I love hearing stories about people pushing themselves in amazing ways--it's inspiring...and gives me a little kick in the pants. :)

Kristina Jackson said...

I love this Isabel! I feel the exact same way a lot of the time too. Love em sooo freakin much, try not to think of ever losing them, but dang won't she just shut up for 2 seconds!!! Haha, awesome!

Isabel said...

Thanks Kristina! I know, I've actually considered wearing my earplugs during the daytime recently. Or just banging my head against the wall until I can't hear ANYTHING!

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