When Arlo was three-and-a-half he fell off his bike after school one day, badly skinning his knee and shoulder. Healthy since birth and coordinated since his first step, this is the most serious injury he has ever endured. Just recounting this memory makes me nauseous all over again – the memory of a skinned knee. When other parents tell me about their trips to the ER for stitches or casts or nebulizer treatments at home or breaking a tooth while climbing on the kitchen table I always think, “My god. I do not have the constitution for parenthood.”
Arlo is hurt right now, wounded by the move to Montreal and in particular attending a new school which, as it turns out, is not a good fit. His unease there reverberates here, rattling the walls and puncturing eardrums. I’ve taken steps to change his environment and I’m excited for these changes because we really need things to turn around.
I see now I’ve taken my child’s heath and happiness for granted. The sadness in him, whether it be raw or masked in ill behavior, paralyzes me. I find myself matching him tear-for-tear and when he asks why I am sad I reply “Because you are so sad,” and it’s all I can do, just cry with him, just be with him as he is for as long as he needs. Farrah Star is in a lovely place, gratefully, herself enjoying good health and happiness and even offering consistent naps. This a relief because it allows me to obsess over my son.
I think about all the mothers I know whose children have suffered, who have been hurt or who are maybe just not whole in some way. Their resolve is probably no stronger than mine, their stomachs lurch in the same direction, but they have found a way to rise and meet their child’s needs. They fight their way to the surface and be present, no matter their constitution.
I am thinking of you and all that you do for your kids when it simply has to be done. Thank you for your strength and inspiration.