My best friend, Bean, saves everything. It has been particularly beneficial when I want to remember something that happened years ago and need help jogging my memory. She will inevitably pull up her organized computer files and find whatever I’m looking for, then will resend me e-mails that I sent her in 2004 just so I can know which work-out tape I was using when it hurt so much that I called the instructor some very colorful names. Kathy Smith, you mock me with all that talking…and breathing.
Yesterday, Bean sent me this from August, 2002. My son was three months old and obviously having difficulty sleeping. I had sent her this e-mail, probably to vent as I so often did.
I don’t know what to do with him. He’s been aspirating on spit-up the past couple of nights, so last night I put him in his car seat to sleep, but he still did it. He doesn’t breathe very well in his car seat either. I can make sure he’s on his side so he won’t choke on it, but I can’t stop it from going up his nose, and understandably, when that happens he freaks out. He tenses up and won’t take a breath. I’ve heard him do it the past few nights and was able to get to him before he bradied (bradycardia…where his heart rate drops dangerously low), but he’s certainly not resting well and neither am I.
What amazes me, is that I had forgotten all about this period of time, but reading about it brought it all back. I now vividly remember his tiny body stiffening and the gulping sound he would make as he struggled to get air down his throat because his nose was filled with fluid. My, maybe, six pound, three month old probably felt like he was drowning.
I figure that I forgot these episodes because there have been so many other tough experiences with my son and it’s much easier and makes me much happier to remember the fun stuff. Which is mostly what I write about here.
But, that doesn’t mean I will ever forget the first time I stroked my son’s head, or the first time he was wheeled away from us for heart surgery, or when a nurse stood over him when he stopped breathing in the recovery room after a surgery three years ago and yelled in my boy’s face, “Don’t quit on me!”
Some things you can’t forget even if you want to.
But, I much prefer to think about the time when we were in Target and he ran away from me and yelled for me to “come chase him and pinch his butt”, or the time when he asked me if he could take a quarter to school for “Q” day and put it in the “little pocket on the front of his underwear”, or when he saw a woman in a red sweat-suit and called her “Santa’s brother”. I could never decide if it was worse to get insulted by a five-year old, get called a man, or be told you resemble a jolly old elf.
He once told a very much alive, elderly woman that she had “died” because she was old. He mentioned to our cable repairman that he looked like Santa, because of his “big round belly”. And, it’s a toss-up as to whether my personal favorite is the time when he told a masculine woman that she looked like “kind of a girl”, or when we were at the doctor’s office and he mistook two Muslim women’s head scarves for bandannas and called them both “pirates”.
Some things you can’t forget and never, ever want to.
These things that mortified me at the time, now make me laugh and remind me that despite everything this kid has gone through, he still has an amazing spirit and this gift of wit and sarcasm like none I’ve ever seen.
Which is why I’m glad Bean sent me that e-mail. To remind me not to sweat the small stuff, because my son has come so far. So very far. And, through it all he has chosen to make us laugh instead of complain.
However, none of this can make me stop calling Kathy Smith names.