Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Finding the Way


Colby’s crying returned. I hear her urgent, afraid cry at four in the morning, Craig goes to soothe her. Five thirty a.m. and the crying starts. I want to pull the pillow over my head, I want to curl up and dissappear. Already, I would give anything for the crying to stop. It is not that I do not want to get up, it is not that the crying itself is so overwhelming, though it is; the root of my instant anxiety is that I know the crying continue all day, and that there is nothing I can do to soothe her.

She cries with the intensity of a collicy infant, but she is five and a half years old. There is a huge, long arc to it, there is a depth of anguish that does not match up with the thin girlish body and round, cherubic face. The sound, the tears, the duration do not add up for a child. To look at and to feel, it does not make sense. And to feel impotent to help her, that is the feeling I try to avoid for a moment, pillow over the head.

Untouched eggs, toast, yogurt, banana all on the table in a still life of attempts. Colby won’t eat or drink. We have to hold her to get her meds in her. Craig and I are like broken glass, rough and abrupt, quick to wound. He is tired and breathing in short exasperated sighs. She’s already had four seizures. I feel anger mount about everything. Every way Craig does not ask for help, every little whine from Coral, and every desperate, shouting yell from Colby.

I notice my anger and I see no way out, through or around. This will be a rough day. I start the inventory of things to remember: look out the window at the last of the fall color; pause before responding to Coral, do not snap, find the tender awareness that she is a tiny child, and then help her, hug her; remember Craig and I are on the same team, we are both wanting to find our way together, do not turn him in to the enemy. Pause and make choices before responding and reacting. The choices I feel like I have about how to be with the crying feel large, clunky and basic.

The crying comes with the seizures and the seizures mean that she has lost her motor plan and basically cannot walk. Immobility and her frustration are linked. Managing her anguish becomes the day’s focus. Even though the crying seems to have its own life cycle, of course we try everything to soothe her. We hold her, we carry her, we play her favorite music, we check for splinters, we take her for long drives.

By the end of the day I want the anesthesia of wine, I want another pillow over my head, I want to feel like there is something soft and buoyant and glowing between me and the harsh feelings and needs of the day. I notice the feeling, the desire to dissappear a little into another state, and so I watch that too.

The day ends how it started: watching. Watching my words, watching my wine, watching myself in the endless work of love and motherhood. Craig and I finally catch each others’ eyes. And we acknowledge our work, a sincere congratulation to navigating a hard day. And as Colby quiets and prepares for sleep, the hope for a better tomorrow is palpable in the house.

1 comment:

  1. what a moving and beautifully written piece, my daughter suffered from very bad reflux for the first year of her life. She spent every night screaming and crying we didn't sleep for a year, I also drank quite a bit of wine and we both were very fractious. Your blog is a very clever spin on the food thing, i'm jealous!
    Alan Wylie (Librarian and foodie)
    London UK