I made an awesome throw-it-together dinner tonight. Cooked some chopped bacon and onion until the bacon was crisp and the onions were caramelized. Then I added some cold, cooked farfalle and stirred that around until it was hot. Meanwhile, I'd whipped together a few eggs and a whole lot of parmesan cheese. I added this to the pasta mixture and stirred it around until the eggs were coating the pasta and cooked a little. Salt and pepper and my children were happily eating.
I noticed that Sophie had the faraway look in her eyes. She kept turning her head to the right and chewing her food in slow-mo. I got frustrated and pulled her chin forward. This went on a little more, the boys chattering as usual and then Sophie really turned her head to the right and proceeded to have a BIG seizure. Again. At the table during a meal. I lowered her to the floor and on the way down, I glanced up and noticed Henry, his head hanging down. I noticed when Sophie's stiff hand hit Oliver, who was sitting next to her, that he glanced down, too, and pushed it away. They both said, "Wow, it's big" and maybe Henry asked whether Sophie was all right before he got up, brought his plate to the sink and literally ran out of the kitchen. I asked him to bring me a pillow, and he did that. He brought a pillow and helped me to put it under her head, but then he was gone, out the door and outside. Oliver, on the other hand, got down from his seat and knelt down for a second with me, patted Sophie's shoulder as she seized and then he ran off and outside, too.
I sat on the floor and tried to make Sophie as comfortable as possible. I was crouched next to her and I was suddenly overcome, NOT by worry for her, but worry for these boys. I suddenly had this weird feeling that they would only remember this one day. Their mother, crouched over their sister who lay on the cold kitchen floor after seizing. I sat there, literally sobbing, allowing myself the worry. What would they remember of me, the mother of their childhoods? Would I be remembered as sad? As broken or damaged? Would they remember just how many seizures they have witnessed. Would they remember feeling disappointed that the new drug really didn't work?
I only write this, here, to make it clear. Words make things clear. I am aware that there is a strange selfishness, a self-absorption, really, in worrying about what my children will think of me when they are adults. How they will remember me. Because I am not me for them. I am just me. Helpless to be anything but that. Surely they will remember a lot more of me and certainly I am not me just to please them. This knowing and unknowing is what my mothering is about. This closeness and protection and helpless letting go, this awareness, beaten into my head day in and day out about control or lack thereof. That desire is not enough. That I am hanging on.
I loved rollercoasters as a kid. I held my hands up and screamed on the descent, my heart in my throat, my eyes squeezed shut. I hate them now. The pounding beat, the clack of the wheels, the metallic smell, the push forward and down, the wind blinding me.