Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Conversations and a Christmas Poem

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 -


  1. Health for his sister and a car to drive her around. You gotta love him. :-)

    Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  2. You are surrounded by some wonderful men :) Both big and small.

  3. Isn't it wonderful how kids can accommodate so much in their minds...they are so free of adult limitations. Great post.

  4. Thank you for letting us be a mouse under the table at your home.

  5. What can I say? Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I love you Elizabeth and your family.


  7. I was going along just fine and came to tears at the rugged billion miles

    I think my danish husband must be similar to your swiss one. It's a godsend really.

  8. I think I fell in love with your boys today. And thank-you for reciting this poem today. Lovely.

  9. I love the honesty in your household, the facing of reality, and the gentleness. It takes courage to ask such a question; clearly he feels very secure. You answered the question, but didn't fall into trying to resolve this over dinner, all in one night. "A little bit at a time" is a very nice way to deal with complex issues, if it's possible. I like the way that you just led the conversation elsewhere, when you felt it was time. You are a wonderful mother.

    How is your husband doing? "Lumbar puncture" sounds miserable. I hope he's not in pain.

  10. Henry is something wonderful.

    What's wrong with USC?

    Hope your sweet husband is OK.

  11. Oh these conversations. I love your kids. Love.

    And thanks for checking on me. I'm ok, just kidnapped by the holiday craziness (and a trip to Florida). Hoping I can get to my blog this much to write about.

    I really hope The Husband is ok. Thinking of you.

  12. I know conversations can be hard. But kids have a way of making them a little easier to take....second wish is a Ferrari! Love it.

  13. Oh Elizabeth, I love this post. And what a dear Henry is--I love his wishes. I love that he is so mature and yet still a kid. (Not that you have to be a kid to want a Ferrari, of course.)



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