Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Angels (31 for 21, Day 17)

"...There's always some reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memories seep from my veins
let me be empty
and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight"
--Sarah McLachlan, Angel

This is a Mommy post.  More specifically a Nurse-Mommy post.  A tired Mental Health-Nurse-Mommy post.

Most of my posts, especially this month, have a ribbon of something Down syndrome related running through them.  This one does not.  In fact, this particular post would like to get as far away from Down syndrome as possible.

Let me explain...

I'm not a religious person by nature.  Spiritual would probably be a better description, but that is really not the issue.  One thing I try and stay away from, for example, is personifying those with DS as "angels" or some kind of special gift from the Almighty.  I do not deny that my son is a gift; to me, all children are gifts.  However I don't think he's more special in that sense than his twin or his older brother. He's just different.  He expresses himself differently, but has no problem expressing himself.  Especially to his old, tired Mom.

Work, in a nutshell, is insane.  Without telling too many tales out of school, it has moved and expanded.  Like any other move, we have no idea where anything is and how we are going to do things in our new space, let alone try and make it our own.  There is friction and sadly it's not like moving house when I can just call up the cable company and scream at them when things aren't done properly.  Right now, I wish we could just fast forward three months to the point where things have stabilized.  But, I can't.

This past weekend was particularly rough.  I don't mind busy; in fact I feed off it.  However, bizarre quirky little problems kept popping up and it got to be a bit too much in spots.  There were some bright moments however;  a friend of mine scored some tickets for our upcoming gala fundraiser featuring Sarah McLachlan.  I love Sarah and have since 1991's Touch.  Her distinctive voice has been in the background of many of my adult life's major moments;  the idea that I was going to see her at the Rose Theater here in Brampton made my day.  My friend and I found ourselves humming some of her songs during the particularly crazy bits as both of us struggled to write our respective reports while the phone kept ringing, ringing, ringing and the patients kept coming (while we prevented ump-teen 'codes' with the ones that were there).  As we struggled through, the anger would build and build, burning away our energy and preventing us from doing what we were there to do just as efficiently as the procedural issues or the rest of the nonsense.  It was exhausting.

I came home Sunday night, defeated and very sad.  I barely had any energy left to talk, let alone have a meaningful interaction with anyone.  Everyone was happy to see me, which was wonderful, but I felt really strung out and alone.  I haven't felt like that in years...  it's not a good feeling.  After putting away my coat and purse and attending to a few things, I plunked myself down cross-legged on the living room floor amongst the kids and their chaos. 

Wyatt was the first to come over.  He sat on my knee and I watched him with a bemused smile on my face.  He seemed to realize that I was not full of conversation so he decided to fill the space with his own stories.  He has had a cold/respiratory bug for the last week and has not been himself;  it was a great change to see him babbling and gesturing frantically as he gazed up into my eyes and laughed when I would respond.  At one point I looked over at the TV that was on and was surprised to see Sarah McLachlan on the screen.  That night, as it turns out, Sarah was being inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame and I got to enjoy the lovely tribute that had been prepared for her.  As I watched, Zoe cruised around the room and occasionally put her head on my shoulder before buzzing off again.  Quinn too was nearby and would come to give me a hug or a pat.  The show went to commercial and I was distracted again by Wyatt, warbling happily on my knee.

I looked up again at the first chords of Angel.  The tears began to burn on my cheeks as her gorgeous voice sang a story of abject loneliness and despair.  It was a story that mirrored my own emotions after twelve very long hours of attuning myself with beings that were even more devastated and exhausted.  I lost myself in the song, awash in the anguish of the day.

"'s easier to believe in this sweet madness oh, this glorious sadness that brings me to my knees."

Near the end, I became aware of my surroundings again.  Wyatt had ceased his babbling and was watching too, his arms around me and his body snuggled securely in my side.   Zoe was perched on my other leg, her head on my chest, her brown eyes wide as she watched the lady at the piano.  Quinn's hand was in mine as he sat behind me, his chin buried in my shoulder.  All three of my children were at my side, their arms had quietly encircled me in my moment of doubt and pain.   They are not angels, my children, but their love, their energy... their innocence changed in one chorus, my song of sorrow into one of solace.

The moment was eventually broken, as they all are, but it was all there for a fleeting time.  Complete comfort, in the arms of my children.  Zoe eventually lifted her head up, grabbed at my earrings, burbled noncommittally and toddled off.   Quinn asked a random question and Wyatt gazed up at me wisely.  I wiped the tears away and kissed them one by one.  "I love you Mom", my six year old assured me, through his jack-o-lantern smile.  I tousled his curls and assured him of the same.

Beautiful moments like these remind me of how lucky I am.  I am thankful for my family, for my husband, for the ability to do the things that I can do, for the ability to help others in their most desperate time of need.  My children are a big part of that.  Once again, they, my husband and I are hardly angels.   However, they do manage from time to time, to fill me with light and love, unconditionally.  Maybe DS is part of that chemistry, just like my daughters impish grin, I don't know.  I do know that whatever it is, works.  That night I slept like a stone for the first time in weeks.  We work, we play and we love deeply. My kids may not be angels, but the love we have for each other surely is Divine.


  1. I think it is the very HUMAN connection that makes this being a parent the greatest thing there is.

  2. We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another. ~Luciano de Crescenzo

    In your humbleness you and your family are angels.


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