Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Favorite Child

Just a moment ago, one of my sons phoned, but I did not know whether it was Gavin or Grant. Their voices sound the same when they greet me, and when I ask which son is calling, each son inevitably replies, "Your favorite son." Well, they are both my favorite son, so what do I say? I try to figure out which son is most likely calling at that moment and then say his name. Just as inevitably, I hear laughter, their laughs are quite distinct from one another, and then I know I guessed incorrectly. There follows a teasing, "I knew it," followed by another laugh. I immediately feel horrible, fearing that one son will think I favor the other or vice versa, when in reality, I love them both with all my heart, and you can't love anyone more than that.

Ever since Gavin joined his sister Amy, and then later Hugh came along and finally Grant arrived to complete our family, my children have tried to find out who is my favorite child. The better question would be if I have a favorite child, but, no, they assume I must. Why is that, I wonder? They guess one or another, and they are always wrong because I do not have a favorite child, or, more accurately, each one is my favorite child at the same time. Each child is part of my heart. My heart has four chambers, and I have four children. I tell my children that I have a four part heart,  and each child is a chamber of my heart. I cannot pick an auricle over a ventricle; my heart needs all four chambers, or I would die. In the same way, I cannot pick one child over another because I need each one to make me whole and complete.

Before I had my children, I liked to think that I was a puzzle with missing pieces, though I wasn't sure what was missing. When each child was born, another piece of the puzzle that is me was filled in. Once all four were born, the puzzle that was me was complete. Each child fits in my life and heart in his or her own special way. Their essences are unique, and neither can take the place of the other. That is why I love it best when we are all together because then life seems whole and complete--everything fits, at least for me.

For my children, however, I am just a portion of their individual puzzles, probably part of the border.  My children are in the process of filling in their life puzzles, finding what makes them complete, and it is thrilling to sometimes be another puzzle piece in their life puzzle and sometimes an observer from my border spot. Sometimes, too, it is sad when I realize that my portion of their puzzles is getting smaller, though I know that is the way it is supposed to be.

My four children, however, are the pieces of my puzzle that make me whole, so I hope they always know that each one is my favorite child every minute of every day.

Take care,


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Blowing Bubbles Kind Of Day

Yesterday was a perfect day for blowing bubbles, but I couldn't find my bubbles until last night, so I blew bubbles on the deck this afternoon in honor of yesterday, watching the rainbow bubbles floating all about me and feeling happy.

When my children were young, I bought quarts of bubbles at a time. The kids and I would blow bubbles because it was a happy day, a sad day, or just a regular day that seemed to require bubbles. We would laugh and chase the bubbles about, trying to catch one of the rainbow-colored spheres, believing it would bring good luck or grant a wish. We would laugh as whatever dog we had tried to catch a bubble, only to have it burst on her nose. We would laugh because bubbles are fun. Any day becomes a better day when you blow bubbles together. That is why yesterday was a perfect day for blowing bubbles.

Yesterday was my middle son's birthday. 24 years ago on July 14, Hugh was born. When each of my four children was born, I was euphoric. My heart felt like it would burst with joy, but it did not burst,  instead my heart stretched to include one more child, one more blessing. The moment each child was placed in my arms, I felt more complete than the moment before, and it is impossible to imagine the world without each of my four children in it.

Hugh's birth held a special surprise--he was our only child to be born who didn't have a complicated, death-defying birth. He was our only child whose umbilical cord Gordon got to cut. He was our only child we got to see turn from blue to pink while lying on my chest, and he began to nurse immediately. Because he was so "well-born," Gordon wanted me to change the middle name we had agreed on of Gwydion to Evan because Evan means well-born one. I felt apprehensive about this, superstitious in a way, sure we should stick with Gwydion and not call attention to the ease of Hugh's birth, but Gordon was insistent. Had I known you could have two middle names, I would have named our son Hugh Evan Gwydion, but I thought you could only have one middle name. Completely illogically, I will always believe that had I stuck with Gwydion, Hugh would have avoided schizophrenia.

But Hugh did not avoid schizophrenia. Eight years ago, he had his psychotic break, and his paranoia and delusions keep us from celebrating his birthday together, or even contacting him at all. Hugh's schizophrenia has taught me about a kind of love I did not know existed--a sad, patient love of open, empty arms waiting, with an everlasting wisp of hope, to welcome Hugh home with a giant hug.

Until that moment comes, however, I shall continue to blow bubbles because when I'm blowing bubbles, I am momentarily transported back in time to our deck in the Santa Cruz mountains, and I feel the happiness and hear the laughter of all of my four children and me as we try to catch a rainbow-colored bubble without breaking it. Perhaps if I can catch a bubble one day, that will be the day that Hugh comes home with his schizophrenia vanquished forever.

Take care,


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