Oh, sometimes skies are cloudy And sometimes skies are blue And sometimes they say that you eat the bear But sometimes the bear eats you And sometimes I feel like I should go Far far away and hide ‘Cause I keep a waitin’ for my ship to come in And all that ever comes is the tide
-Hard Time Losin’ Man, Jim Croce
I spent most of today with my hand clamped firmly over Laughingboy’s mouth. He’s been suffering from… something… for a few weeks now. Could be teething problems, could be growing pains, could be gas, could be that the planet under the control of his amazing brain power somewhere is suffering from the turmoils of wartime. Everybody offers opinions, but it’s anybody’s guess. Either way, he spends most of his time red faced and screaming, his limbs clenched tight like rusty vice-grips, his eyes wild with anxiety. There’s only so much pain killer a kid can take before he either becomes immune, or suffers from liver malfunction so it’s a case of trying one thing after another until he eventually falls asleep.
Problem is, most of the day must be spent quietly while TAT sleeps off his night-shift, so I must stay glued to Laughingboy’s bedside, gagging his yells with the cupped palm of my hand, stopping briefly every now and then to scream profanities into a soft cottony Spongebob pillow. I caught myself yelling at Puppychild for singing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’ in her sweet little voice over the calamity caused by Cryingboy in the same room. Hers was the voice of peace, but I only saw that once I had shattered it and she looked at me with big eyes brimming with tears, confused at what she had done wrong. It killed me.
When silence briefly reigns, I must spend it washing or cooking or sweeping, or simply staring into an open fridge for two hours. I miss the good parts, the quiet smiles, the interludes.
It grinds a girl down, it makes her want to sleep, to find her reflection in the bottom of a bottle, to forget about sending wedding thank-you-cards and emptying spare-rooms and sunbathing in rare Irish tarmac softening heat. I wonder when things will start to perk up again.
Then something silly happens… in this case, while I was setting up Laughingboy’s feeding bag tonight, and I stood on an up-turned plug. My reaction sounded something like a birthing hyena and it sent both children into hysterics. All three of us, collapsed on a bed, ripped into shreds of giggles and forgetting the bad times. It was right then that I figured it isn’t Laughingboy who has special needs, but me. It’s a need to know that giggles are no good without tears, quiet smiles are accentuated by loud frowns, stress breeds peace.
Whatever it is that Laughingboy is suffering from, it will be but a distant memory someday. I should take this opportunity to teach Puppychild how to deal with stress by example, and to remind Laughingboy what my heartbeat sounds like, instead of having him taste the salty bitterness of my sweaty hand. Nothing comes from nothing, everything comes from understanding.
Like Grannymar once said on her blog; “Be thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means you have a home.”