I sad because my legs no work so good. I no run fast like Parker. My legs no work.
It’s the heavy silence that follows the bomb dropping, where all you can hear is the sound of your own heartbeat pounding out its instantly accelerated rhythm in your ears, followed by the air slowly leaving your body – the breath you’ve been holding since he said it.
Someone should say something. Someone should tell him it’s okay, that he’s perfect, that we knew things would be tough and that they likely always will be but that we will get by. Together.
Isn’t someone going to say something? Because I am doing all that I can just to hold back from letting out this sob that is building up in the back of my throat in the seconds since those words came out of his beautiful rosebud mouth just dripping with sadness.
But it is only me in the car with him. And Parker. And I am supposed to be the one to soothe him, to tell him…what on Earth am I supposed to tell him? That it will be fine? That it sucks? That I’m sorry?
I thought we had more time.
I thought that we wouldn’t be here yet, that at four years old, this boy – my beautiful boy that finally definitively learned last week that he is a boy, that can remember that my name is “Jamie” but still can’t consistently recall his father’s name, that thinks that the thing he poops out of is called his “tushie” and the thing he pees out of is also called his “tushie” – well, I thought we had more time.
I thought he had more time.
More time to walk through this world oblivious to having Cerebral Palsy, more time before he was aware of the cruelty that the cocktail of fate or genetics or bad luck or me not taking my prenatal vitamins regularly enough served up to him.
That was another of our “silver linings” – of the platitudes we told ourselves about his cognitive deficits, about how, At least he doesn’t realise it. At least he’s not aware of all of this – that he’s different – that most kids don’t have to work so hard just to get through each day and that it is not normal to have eight hours of therapy every week. At least he doesn’t realise that he’s different, we told ourselves and each other. Thank God for that.
But he knows now. Something that revealed itself on our drive to school this morning when Parker told me that Owen doesn’t look so good. I peered at him through the rear view mirror half-expecting him to be some horrendous shade of green, but his coloring was fine. I assumed it was likely because he was still upset that Scott told him he couldn’t wear his Oscar the Grouch watch to school today. Seeing this as an opportunity for good communication between them and a chance to have Owen talk about his feelings, I suggested to Parker that she ask him what was wrong.