I always loved that Morton Salt logo: when it rains it pours. What a great pun!
And I often use that hackneyed phrase to describe life here at Chez Delaunay. Because bad things come in threes (or five, or tens, as the case may be). And just when I think I will have to get in my car alone and run away to Big Sur and sit just quietly, like Ferdinand the Bull (remember him?), and gaze at the flowers, or the sea, one of my kids does some beautiful thing that takes my breath away, or my husband tells me he loves me in just the right way, and I think, OK, I'll stay here.
Plus, remember: some Rockin' hermit crabs reside here, as does a Hellacious but quite superlative Hound.
Anyway, the metaphorical rain storm is my excuse for not blogging recently.
Stuff like: Benjy unable to get to his summer program because of depression/anxiety/general non-functionality, and then, Bam! almost out of the blue, developing severe facial tics that make him look like he's having a seizure.
Saskia catching her monthly respiratory illness, developing a tenacious sinusitis that defies --defies! -- all antibiotic intervention for five weeks and then foments a severe migraine, which emerges during our first vacation in many years. (I spent seven hours with Saskia in an ER on the Jersey Shore. This is something I can recommend to anyone interested in -- uh -- unusual human specimens.) Saskia felt and looked so damn sick I actually thought she was going to collapse on her walk from the parking garage to Children's Hospital on our visit to neurology -- 10th specialist in the past 1.5 years, I believe? -- the day we got back to Boston.
Six weeks of foot pain for me, and my foot blossoms into a huge thing that my brother R-- thinks looks like a loaf of bread and could suggest a blood clot. Panic ensues and I spend hours having x-rays and ultrasounds to rule out a fracture and a clot, respectively. All negative so I'm off next Monday to visit an orthopedist at one of the four area hospitals I frequent on a regular basis.
But readers, I'm not complaining. Because I just finished a book that makes our lives look like a picnic. It also happens to be a beautifully written, poignant, and, finally, hopeful memoir of parenting a child with mental illness (sound familiar?).
The Boy Who Loved Tornadoes is about Chase, whose illness is quite different from Ben's. Chase has severe, severe psychosis, and his mom, Randi Davenport, is single during the worst of his illness. I do not know how she does it, advocating and caring for Chase and his typical sister, Haley.
But actually, I do.
When people say to me, "I don't know how you do it," I reply, "You would do it, too. You just do what you have to, because the alternative is simply unacceptable." People have amazing stores of strength and courage, actually. Some folks can stand up to a gunman, to terrorists. Think of those brave people who saved lives, though not their own, by standing up to the 9/11 terrorists over that field in Pennsylvania. I could never, ever have done that, but I have my own strength. Randi Davenport has hers. The 9/11 heroes had theirs. Soldiers, and doctors, and social workers have theirs. Our strengths are of different sorts, but people really are capable of great things, as much as the current social and political discourse seems to belie it.
Last night I took Benjy to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, and as we walked into the theater he said, "Hey, can we sit apart from each other, in different rows?" And I said, "Really? Because I would quite enjoy laughing with you." And he said, "OK." And when it got really funny, he laid his head on my shoulder and laughed and laughed. After a while he just kept it there, making contact with me in a way I totally loved. And the darkness all around us was its own blessing: it hid his facial grimaces, his rolling eyes and jerking head, and spared him social stress and embarrassment for a whole two hours.
If that weren't enough, Saskia has been positively huggy these days. She keeps waylaying me and holding me tight. She's letting me know that, even if she's fourteen, she needs me and loves me.
What did I do to deserve all this? The good and the bad, I mean. I don't know, and I'm trying not to question it. I think I'm just going to go have a loooong shower.
Good news is, I'm back, and I'll try not to stay away so long next time, even if it's pouring.