Well, it's 4:44 in the morning. I've been awake for two hours. You see, when I'm stressed out, I tend to wake up around three. Since starting my latest job, the anxiety that I worked so hard to kill is starting to form a hard, skittery lump in my chest again. So, these dreams I have are always fearful: a tornado is threatening to blow my house off its foundation. I'm naked and late for some presentation. My car is careening down a steep embankment. I can't find Cyrus. I wake up with my heart pounding. To soothe myself, I count all the things I've done wrong in my life. Chastise myself for bad decisions. Count all the money I don't have. You know how it goes.
Luckily, I know exactly where Cyrus is; he's asleep in my bed. And I'm covered in a Ninja Turtle bed set because it was the most remote place to come where the light wouldn't bother him.
Besides all of the above mentioned things that have all the gears cranking in my head, today is Cyrus' birthday. He's 5. Five fucking years old.
In those five years, I know both he and I have aged incredibly. He's already the wisest person I know. And I'm very serious when I tell you that I go to him for honest, unfiltered advice. He is my spiritual guide.
You all know the things he's endured: living in a plastic cube while being kept alive by machines, surgeries, and seizures. The one year of house arrest when you wanted to meet him but were told you couldn't because of his immune system. (It took us another year to realize that the three of us could all leave the house at the same time.) His average of 5 appointments a week with doctors and therapists. The feeding pump that we once wheeled around the house. The little button still in his stomach. That fucking seizure just last week. And the newest addition, besides the eye-patch he wears for four hours a day (maybe you didn't know about that) is the brace we'll have to put his leg in at night to stretch his muscles. For at least six months.
Of all of those things, what he hates most is a blood pressure cuff.
I strive to be like him.
This is parenthood as I know it. It's a mix of medical knowledge, love, and whiskey.
Just last week when we were in the hospital, the ER doctor, who had some deep, booming voice and an east coast accent, told Mindy and me that he and his wife had a 27 weeker, so he understood. It was all I could to do to keep from throwing myself into his arms. Here was a doctor and a preemie parent. Here was someone who understood everything. And the way he treated us, like we were people. Like intelligent people. It was so new and wonderful. And he said to us, "I know what you've been through, and I know you're more sophisticated than other parents, that you know your child better than I, so I'm going to tell you something I wouldn't tell other parents..." It's a fucked up little club I never knew existed or wanted wanted to be a part of, but to be recognized like that--well, it's like winning a goddamn award.
A social worker visited Cyrus and me last week to update the "home study." Mindy and I started this part of the adoption when we were still together. She was nice, but asked a lot of personal questions. Like why we are no longer together. If Cyrus saw us fight (no. never. because we never fought). How our relationship is now. You probably wonder that, too. It's good. We're friends. We're amazing co-parents. From the outside, I hear, it seems very intimate still. Well, look at all we've shared. Such joys. Such sadness. How many other separated parents have to make a couple of medical decisions nearly every week?
We have to do one more home study on March 30th. The social worker said it was to see if Mindy and I really did get along. Then, in six months, I can apply to adopt him. I mean. I can start the process in six months. Who know when it will end.
Mindy, Cyrus, and I are going to have a birthday breakfast together. We're going out, but right now I'm worried. All of the thoughts of five years ago today will come back. We'll lose it right in the middle of the restaurant. We'll just weep for all that we've been through. All that the three of us are still recovering from.