It's been five days since I've blogged about Ben, Saskia, Lars, or the Hellacious Hound. I guess that's because things are going pretty well. For the same reason that the novels, TV dramas, and movies we all love are filled with tension and obstacles as opposed to serenity and happiness (note that the happy marriage usually occurs at the end), no one wants to read a blog about smooth sailing. Do they? Boooring.
As I look over at my boy slumbering peacefully on the adjacent couch -- knocked out by his nightly meds -- I'm reminded of the many, many nights when sleep was a desperately needed reprieve -- for him and for me. I think the two of us, on his most dysregulated days, longed for the peace a protracted sleep would bring. Sometimes, I'm ashamed to admit, I slipped him an extra Ativan in the hopes it would make him drift off. We both needed that. All four of us did.
Now, Ben is experiencing success. As a fencer. As a friend. His stable of comrades just increased one hundred percent. There were three more or less reliable friends. Now there are six -- well, okay -- five and a half. These new buddies are boys he met through the club I started -- a club for Aspies who share an interest in the computer game Minecraft. As of tomorrow, three of these boys will have had Benjy over. And that, Readers, is an astonishingly lovely gift. He's had two hour-plus phone calls with one of them. Will wonders never cease?
But still, I can't helping being on guard. Because quiet spells have never lasted. Ever. In eleven years we've never had more than a couple of months of easy living. Things have always gone south. So I cautiously embrace the halcyon days, but I do not trust them.
One of the happy things in my life right now is the loss of work. I am more relaxed, more present for my family, than I have been in years. I have not browsed the writing or education jobs on Craigslist since November. What a relief that is! And we are making it -- just. I feel sheer joy right now. I love my life. How long has it been since I was able to say that? Not sure. Several years, at least.
The best thing, apart from Benjy's general happiness, is that I am writing again -- and writing things that I'm passionate about. I've put my novel-in-progress aside. Time enough to go back to that when my agent sells the other novel and I have to finish the new one. So right now I'm writing personal essays. I ALMOST sold the essay about parenting Ben to O, the Oprah Magazine. The editor there loved it but they don't really publish parenting essays. So she's invited me to write something else for the magazine, and I have pitched an essay about coming to terms with my dead sister and the sisterhood we never shared. Now that I am not thinking about Ben every single minute I can process some of the other stuff in my life. I have another magazine in mind for the Benjy essay, and I have several other ideas for articles, including one on the price of disability -- the cost to people's (usually mothers') careers and the impact on family finances. I am also planning a profile of Ben's inspirational fencing coach (who left Cuba to come to America with literally nothing but the clothes on his back, and who, among other things, teaches fencing to the blind and to cancer patients). I am SO excited to be writing again!
Of course, keeping this blog is writing, too, and I have found it to be therapeutic and a lot of fun. People from all over the world are landing here. How cool is that? I don't have any plans to abandon it. I might have to rethink the content, though. If I can no longer write about parenting a child who wants to die, I will have to find other things to write about.
I promise they won't be boring essays on how great our lives are going. Well, okay. Once in while they probably will be.