The Descent of Peace - William Blake
The scene is the dinner table, and for once we're all there. The Husband is home from work because he had a lumbar puncture today (and I'd add that yes, it takes a lumbar puncture and an order to take it easy for The Husband to be at home during the dinner time) (and that's a whole other story that only lends a bit of drama to the scene and one that I just don't feel like writing about). We're eating roast pork with cranberries, wild rice and sauteed green beans. Sophie has had a good day with few seizures and is active, meaning she's reaching for things, trying to feed herself, touching The Husband's face as he feeds her.
Oliver who is refusing to eat as usual (he basically subsists on minimal protein and air) asks Is Sophie going to live with you guys forever?
The Husband says That's right and I say Well, maybe not forever. Maybe she'll live with some friends in a group home. Like a kind of college dorm.
Oliver says I mean, will we have to take care of her when you're dead?
Henry looks up from his food and joins the conversation.
No, dummy. There will be someone to take care of her. Right, Mom? And we can visit her?
Frankly, I don't want to go into it, again. So I reassure them that Sophie will always have someone to help take care of her and then the Husband, being Swiss and oh so subtly different culturally tells the boys you might not literally take care of her but you'll visit her all the time when we're gone, right, because everyone has to die after all. (This in the Swiss-German accent, neat and matter-of-fact, clean and it's why I married him, folks 'cause you know me...).
And then the conversation comes to a halt and I quickly fill the void with the inane. You know what, everyone? When Mommy and Daddy are 100 years old, Sophie will be seventy and you guys will be in your sixties and we'll all be together. How's that? Eat something, please, Oliver.
I can only take so much and clearly this will be an ongoing conversation.
Later, I sit on the couch next to Henry who is dressed in skinny jeans, a tee-shirt and a knit cap with the letters USC on them (ugh!). He is playing with his DS, some silly video game and he looks impossibly cool and hip, something I NEVER was as an eleven year old.
Does it make you nervous when we talk about taking care of Sophie, Henry? I ask.
Nope, he says, still pushing the buttons of his game. I can take care of her.
If you had two wishes what would you wish for? I ask, basically a sucker for punishment at this point.
First that Sophie would have no more seizures and be normal. And then I'd wish for a Ferrari.
And now, instead of a carol, I'm posting a Christmas poem by Emily Dickinson:
The Savior Must Have Been a Docile Gentleman
The Savior must have been
A docile Gentleman -
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen -
The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that 'twould be
A rugged Billion Miles -