Louise made me cry. I didn’t realize how close to the surface despair had been lingering. A kind gesture, a hug, an empathic word unsteadied my grip on the wheel of an impossible journey. It’s not that I haven’t cried oceans of tears over the past three years, or longer if you count the various heartaches of pregnancy and the NICU. The weight of worry and sorrow stretched my ducts so deeply I figured I had room for something bigger than simple kindness.
I’m supposed to know what’s wrong and how to fix it. I am supposed to know what to do. I don’t. I haven’t. I lost my pride a long time ago.
I cling to the possibility that all of these ledges are steps and not cliffs. We will make it. All of my sweet babies. They are just going through the necessary dark and gnarly soil of maturation, I tell myself. Our expectations of normalcy may be part of the problem, right? The intransigent issue of slow flow, jumbled processing, asynchronous development, all to be worked out in time and experiences. If we just relax and continue to set boundaries and love them fiercely, they’ll rise into the lovely humans we’ve seen in their first brave gasps of life.
But doubts haunt the shadows, tapping on us when we are drifting off into our day dreams or hard earned slumbers. Beating back the thorns and bramble along the path we’re on is weary work. Sometimes I notice the stinging, jagged tears along my skin and limbs. I’m even startled to see my own face, a familiar but forgotten stranger, from the time before. The battles don’t seem like battles until I dare to rest. Then I fear I won’t have the strength to get up again.
I pray each night to always get up again. To protect my babies as long as they need me.
I’m so grateful for the staff at The Listening Center. They really do get it. Very few others get it. I hope to get a better photo of them all before we leave. And maybe kidnap one of them to keep as my personal coach and cheerleader.
Wednesday we spent the morning closer to downtown discovering Toronto’s “Hogwarts” and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
Little man was so excited to see Trinity College, with it’s grand inner courtyard and dining hall where he could easily imagine Dumbledore, Harry, Ron and Hermione all seated at their respective tables and houses. The school is open to the public so he was thrilled to get to run around and explore with relative abandon.
His sisters were annoyed we were not headed to the ROM first, they scorned the whole experience and kept yelling at him to “stop.” They sneered that it wasn’t really Hogwarts. I swear, they have known not to spoil Santa, so why not let him have this? This dynamic where they insist whatever he’s doing is wrong or annoying, and I insist they mind their own business, is getting really old. E’s reasons for being constantly annoyed at him are never ending grudges (he really can’t win). C’s reasons were more personal as she has planter fasciitis and cannot walk very far before she experiences excruciating pain….So…with this constant dynamic, he naturally clings to me as his safe place. They seem to resent him for it.
The ROM is right next door to Trinity and the Royal Conservatory of Music. The modern protrusions and angles feel like Superman’s crystal lair or a glass iceberg jutting out of the cement. The interior is more what one would expect in natural history museum. It felt like Ben Stiller might be there at the Security Counter.
Little man poses here with Futalognkosaurus, a massive dinosaur named in 2007 and the largest dinosaur cast displayed in Canada.
His favorite area of the museum was the Asia wing. He wanted his photo taken with everything. I will just share one. He loved the warrior masks, the Ming tomb and the Chinese Buddhist temple. I love traveling in Asia. I think I may have a new travel mate.
The girls wandered ROM on their own and upon reunion grumbled about being hot and tired. We caught the St. George subway to Bloor and Bathurst.
Later I took my MIL to dinner at Coppi on Yonge Street in the Lawrence Park area. It was highly rated for “authentic Italian fare.” My MIL lived in Rome for many years so I thought she might enjoy celebrating her name day there. The risotto fungi was spectacular! They scooped it out of a giant block of parmesan cheese before plating. The salted fish dish looks pretty amazing as well. Highly recommend this for anyone visiting Toronto.
Each day has highs and lows. Though living in smaller quarters with unusual routines is taxing to be sure, there are small signs of progress. Though E looked (and acted) like death warmed over, a long nap during her session at the Listening Center seemed to soothe her. She is tittering off her depression meds, though faster than we had planned because she forgot her remaining pills back home. I realized today that she may be having a harder time than she or we realized. Will keep an eye on that. C was in better spirits today and was able to find a seat on the rush hour train where standing 30 minutes has been a special kind of torture on the way home.
As soon as I arrived to fetch the children this afternoon, Louise leapt to tell me that little man was unusually quiet today. Normally he’s very active and loud, bouncing around with his headphones bopping on his head. I wondered if it was the swimming? He swam quite hard and very synchronized this morning. He really seemed to enjoy doing laps. None of the girls ever did. He took my suggestions to improve his strokes, differentiate his kicking and even wanted to time his laps. This kind of physical coordination is extremely complicated for the brain to manage if there is trouble with the communication anywhere. This is also the second time water seems to be a factor in calming him in subsequent activities.
Seeing some light on the horizon…