Tuesday, August 24, 2010

All That I Need To Hold, I Can Carry


I went to retrieve her from her bedroom
for we needed to pick up my 6 year old at her play date.
We needed to leave.
But I find her limp, sprawled on her bed.
I find her in a pool of her own saliva.
I find her post-ictal which for those
not "in the know"
is a post-seizure state.
I know she will be unable to walk.
I sit her up to watch her flop,
her head lolls back like a Pez dispenser.
It's a fresh seizure
which occurred at some point
while I was downstairs,
making the alfredo sauce for dinner
chatting with the 2 little ones
scampering across my toes
while my eldest lay alone
 fireworks blasting through her gray matter.

We need to leave
or I'd let her rest.
I'd rather not move her now
but life has a weird little tendency to
move right along
ignoring the minor and major catastrophes
it just keeps marching.

She's in and out of petit mal seizures,
like aftershocks following a large quake.

I will get her down the stairs and out to the car.
I will get her down the stairs and out to the car.
My mantra.
Alone, I will get her down and out to the car
because that's what mothers do. 
They just keep going.
They do what needs to be done
because it needs to be done
and who else will do it?
It needs to be done.

After attempts to have her walk by supporting her weight
I try to carry her.
All 5 feet and 90 pounds of her.
We make it to the stairs and I have to set her down.
We both fold onto the floor.

I can't carry her down the stairs. 
Her legs are too long.
I'm not strong enough.
We sit on the landing, she crumbles into my lap.
I fight off my own crumbling. 

"Okay, buddy, we can do this, we're going to do this, I got you... we'll do it together... you and me together, just like always buddy.... I'm so sorry I have to take you out... I'm so sorry... I know you need to sleep..." 
I talk on and on to the mass of hair on the back of her head
and we slide down each step
she, half on my lap
as we slide down
each step
we stop on the landing
and I think maybe I should call my husband
maybe I should call the mother of the girl who Pink is playing with
and tell her I need help.
Ask her to wait.
Maybe my husband can get home or get Pink.
My other girls are waiting for me in the car.
I am doubting myself
I am flooding up with worry
and helplessness.
Because once I tell myself
"I can't do this"
then I can't.
I'm sweating.
My knee hurts.
This is not impossible,
it's just not ideal.
But what, I ask, in life
is ideal?
I will do it.
I'm stronger than I think.

So we continue our fragile descent,
sliding on our bottoms
one tedious step at a time.

Sometimes it shows character to
ask for help.
But sometimes, you find the strength you never thought you'd have
when you don't call out to be rescued.
At that moment I needed to  know
that of all the things I can't do for her,
this I can.

We make it to the last step.
I gather her into my arms
like I did when she was a seizing infant.
I'm surprised that
she's not as heavy as I thought she'd be.
So I carry her with less effort than I imagined.
We make it to the car.
We make it.
Perhaps I'm stronger than I believed.
Perhaps even when I'm by myself,
I'm never truly alone.
Or perhaps a child never feels too heavy
for a mother's arms.


Nancy C said...

Beautiful. You make me cry and believe in myself a little more. Thank you for continuing to blog.

Kim said...

This just made me cry. Beautifully written, heart wrenching all the same.

Cheryl D. said...

Very heart-wrenching!

As strong as you are, and all that you can carry that life hands you, you should not hesitate to ask for help! I'm sure the other mom would have been more than happy to drive your daughter back to your house! Other people can rise to the occasion too! Let them!

But I DO admire your strength!

That made me cry.

Being Me said...

I think, as mothers, there is a primal force that takes over when we have to get ourselves and our children over the line. I cannot imagine, though, a daily return to that state. I think you are amazing. I also agree with Cheryl D... Perhaps there is a specific gift you, alone, can give other parents around you - by asking them to offer what they can to assist you sometimes? (I don't know! I don't assume to know, but I am just wondering, as a parent who would be willing and prompt to the call if I was approached by another)

Lena said...

What an amazing post. You had me at the title.

erika said...

I guess I wasn't the only one crying. I don't know what is more beautiful: your writing or your heart.

kario said...

I am glad that you affirmed your own strength and found it within yourself. I can only hope that you also found time to honor yourself later and do something that was truly for you, as well.

Lovely post.

Clare said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing this heart-wrenching moment. What a strong, awesome mom you are.

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

One of my mantras has always been "You do what you have to." We just do it. And then you, my friend, you write about it so beautifully.

Miz Dinah said...

That is so poignantly written. You are so strong in every way imaginable. ♥

Mama Deb said...

Wanted to say something, but not sure exactly what...just know that you and your family are in my heart.

mommy~dearest said...

Another crier here...beautiful, and so true.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful moment that you have shared with us. Thank you! I really love reading your blog.

Crystal said...

Awesome post.

KWombles said...

So very powerful. ((()))

Terri Burges Hirning said...

Wow, so moving. I am in tears and know in my heart, also a mama to a special needs kiddo, we do what we must, in whatever form that takes, each and every day. Wonderful post!

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