No one wants their child to struggle. No one wants their child to hurt. No one wants their child to be sick, physically or mentally.
I find myself thinking at times that I would give anything to know that Noah is going to be OK in a year, or five years, or ten years, or as an adult. That he is going to be happy, fulfilled, successful. To know that everything we are doing now, all the struggling, all the second-guessing, all the money we are spending on doctors and therapy, the changes to our life that we have made, the family we have lost, that ALL of that is going to pay off and all the hard work he is doing, we are doing, is going to turn that mixed-up brain around and he is going to be OK.
Yes, our definition of "OK" has changed over the years, hell, even the last few months. We recognize that "OK" is not that cookie-cutter, story-book child we once dreamed of (boy, wouldn't that be boring!). We also understand that "OK" is going to change. "OK" is fluid.
But still, I dream at times that magic would happen. That I could do one very special thing and Noah would just be a regular seven year old boy. I have no freaking idea what that "one very special thing" is, but I still wish magic would happen.
So when I had the opportunity recently to read Hope Edelman's The Possibility of Everything I was fascinated first by the summary:
In the autumn of 2000, Hope Edelman was a woman adrift, questioning her place in her marriage, her profession, and the larger world. She felt isolated from her husband who'd been working 16-hour days, effectively leaving her, a busy working mother, alone to parent her three year old daughter Maya. Disconnected and vulnerable, she was primed for change. Into her stagnant routine dropped Dodo, Maya's curiously disruptive imaginary friend. Dodo is ever-present and becoming more aggressive by the day, forcing Edelman to confront the possibility that something is going seriously awry with her child. After consulting mainstream health professionals for help and getting nowhere, Edelman and her husband made the unlikely choice to bring their daughter to Mayan healers in Belize, hoping that they might help banish Dodo—and, as they came to understand, all he represented—from their lives.The fascination lasted throughout the book and I found myself thinking several times, just how far would I go to "cure" Noah?
I have a cautious belief in alternative medicine. I used acupuncture during my fertility treatments, and although I can't be certain it helped, I believe it did. I know that other therapies I have tried, such as energy therapy, have felt right and good to me. I believe there is an energy and power in touch, and I know the touch of certain people, such as my husband, can calm me and make me feel stronger and more whole.
That said, while fascinated by the story itself, I found myself getting frustrated with the implied message that faith and healers alone "cured" their daughter.
I'm curious if there is an increase in travel of families with sick and special needs children to Belize with the release of this book. Not that I wouldn't mind taking a trip to Belize if I had the opportunity. It sounds like a gorgeous and truly fascinating place to visit. And I guess visiting a Shaman wouldn't hurt Noah, but I have no belief that our visit would end with Noah shaking his head and saying "wow, so that's what a normal brain feels like" and just like that his troubles are gone.
It doesn't stop me from wishing for magic though...
3/6/10 postscript: Thanks to everyone for their supportive and concerned comments and emails! You have no idea how that helps! I don't want you to think I dwell on stuff like this though. I focused on the "wishing for magic" piece because of the book and the book club. We do indeed have magic in our life. In some ways, because of everything that has been part of my journey the last ten years (finding great love, undergoing great change, infertility, adoption, wanting a family so hard it hurt, learning to accept Noah and help him, even losing my family, which has been harder or more difficult for me to understand than almost anything else) I'm able to more clearly see the little magic. And we have those moments. Just yesterday Noah and I sat on the couch and played a game together and it was fun and we were a team and connected. It was just normal. And that hour or so was magic for me. And that time when I'm putting Kiel to bed and we read stories together and then snuggle until he falls asleep, that time for me is also magic. The times that the boys play together and Kiel is following Noah's lead, and Noah is watching out for Kiel. And then we listen to them laugh and giggle. That is the best magic.
So yes, we have magic. I just have to try harder to keep those memories closer
This post is part of the Silicon Valley Moms Book Club featuring Hope Edelman's The Possibility of Everything. I received a free copy of the book as part of the book club and monthly discussion.