Drifting thoughts of a snowflake

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Wings to Fly

Maybe I’ve been listening to Donavon too much, and you probably don’t have a clue who he is or what he sings. I have to get it out. And maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to that song about his boy, and I don’t have a baby. I haven’t had that opportunity, but I have my nephews. I have my Boo and my Brave Man Brother, and I listen to my sister cry because she thinks she’s a bad mother. On Mother’s Day of all days, and I want you to know.

I moved in with my sister when I moved to Austin. I went from living in Houston in a shared bed with Miss Universe, to living in Austin with my new husband, my nephew, sister and brother in law. I went from hedonism to “pretend you’re happy” overnight.

When I was there I wanted to write a book about living with Boo. My nephew was 3 at the time. He is extremely bright and gifted. Sharing Cheerios with him each morning was the highlight of my day; sleeping with my new husband was a void that filled my nights. I would awake each morning with his call.

His little body at the corner of the doorway, sniffing was a language our own. “Sniff….sniff”, he would make the noise like an aboriginal body. When I was awake enough I would mimic his sound with my own version of his “Sniff, sniff.” This meant in Boo and Snowflake language, ‘I’ll meet you in 5 minutes for Cheerios.” I’m not sure how or why we created this syntax. Or what it really meant on a deeper level, but we both understood it in a way I’ve never spoken to another.

Five minutes would go by and he would be waiting for me at the table downstairs. Everyone else busy beginning their daily routine, we would be our ritual. “How’s it going Boo? Sleep well?” I’d ask in a haze. “Not bad, you?” he’d respond. Not wanting to get into the idiosyncrasies that were my love life or marriage I would reply in some form of the affirmative, but I always felt he knew I was lying.

Before long my sister would show up, pregnant and feeling like hell. She was followed by my brother in law and next my husband. We moved as if in a play, as if distressed from time. Fluid like water running through the stones of a well aged man made dam. Each knowing that we were not natural, but forced to go into this path we chose.

Each morning I’d hear him sniff, and I would sniff back and it was the highlight of my day. Every breakfast was the beginning of possibility for him, and the possibility of redemption for me.

Soon afterwards we bought our house, but not before his brother came. Brave Man Brother appeared in such a different fashion than his elder. Calm, cool, and collective his little brother entered into the chaos we called “family”. Boo and I were amazed at the light that appear from his little body. He claimed a serenity neither of us has ever known.

Last year Boo started talking about killing himself. At 5 he was ready to slice his father’s ears in his sleep and content with talking about throwing himself from the window. My sister and I watched in horror as he began a spiral left for old alcoholics and the severely disturbed.

He’s my little boy. He’s already taking more pills than anyone else I know, and seeing more shrinks that I have. He’s bright and gifted in ways that I will never know. I taught him how to read music in 10 minutes. I think it took me months, if not years, to understand that pattern.

He woke up this morning early so he could make my sister breakfast, but she was already awake. The pressure of raising her two boys and the impositions of her husband’s family made her get up and rush to the shower for a break down. She said she stayed there as long as she could. She stood there sobbing and hoping no one would know how desperate she was. Boo ended up having a breakdown because he woke up early to make his Mom breakfast in bed and she was already awake and in the shower. He felt like he missed his chance, his opportunity to love her.

I can not tell you what it is like having a loved one diagnosed with mania at 6. I can’t tell you the brilliance I see in his eyes, or all the love my sister gives to him. I can’t begin to tell you the strength she has in facing his challenges and the destruction she feels at her ignorance with this disease.

I can tell you this, all the goodness I see in her children – all the love they pour from their little hearts speaks of her kindness and her belief in them. She will do anything to make sure that they get a better life than she had. She will make sure that the demons that hide in their heads, instead of underneath their beds like other little kids, are confronted. She will not stop short or pause to take a break, because she loves them. Because she has too.
Love gives us no option to give up on little boys who create languages because they love us. Little boys and little girls who don’t have it so easy make us try. Because life for some little kids isn’t about making paper dolls and planes out of newspaper, it’s about making it through the day intact.

My sister is a deeply religious woman, because that is all she has. I don’t know what you believe in. Hell, I don’t always know what I believe in, but whatever it is – whatever you think is good – could you ask them to give her strength? If not for her, then for little kids who dream of death instead of wings to fly.

by body item ;


Blogger Johnny said...



8:16 PM

Blogger MzOuiser said...

It's very hard to comment here. Sometimes I think this is an area where I know some stuff - my Dad is a mental health professional who worked with difficult pediatric cases - but I am constantly reminded how unique, and frightening, each case is.

I hope your sister finds some comfort in her spirituality, and your Boo finds some peace from the demons in his head. I hope that you can feel the strength of love flowing between the three of you, and the compassion and blessings flowing from us, and from whatever deity may hold us all in its hand.

7:18 AM

Blogger Nan said...

I'm not sure what to say but I will ask my God to give her strength and to give Boo hope.

7:18 PM

Blogger ErntsBloggo said...

I will send out my thoughts for Boo, and for all, voluntarily or involuntarily, who drag their demons out from under the bed and dance toe to toe with them, because I believe they can be beat, but, as Boo is learning... at a too terribly young age, they must be faced to be beaten.

Go, Boo, go!

3:00 PM

Blogger Dirty Dan Sin said...

The Dan is trying to help keep the demons off of precious Boo. The Dan is like a rodeo clown for Boo.

9:52 PM

Blogger Adriana Bliss said...

I'm just in tears - a beautiful, painful entry. I only wish I did not know a little of what your sister experiences on a daily basis. The pain of watching your perfect child express "problems" is soul-wrenching.

10:30 AM

Blogger mona said...

'void that filled my nights'

you kill me.

10:52 PM


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