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Deep Thoughts in Mid-Air

Posted Aug 03 2010 7:57am

There’s something about flying that makes me think. I look out the window over the clouds, laid out so much like fallen snow over a vast field, with bumps and dips and tracks tread through them in every direction, and my mind begins to wander to the bigger, deeper things in life.

I’m off on a few days’ vacation to visit my best friend and her new baby, and I find myself embracing the time away, the distraction, the distance as I approach another NICU follow up visit. I know, I know – I said months ago that we were done, but since then John and I have agreed that touching base with the neurologist isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hopefully, it will amount to nothing but relieving some of our over-anxious worries and fears of the unknown. I swing back and forth between feeling like it’s all nothing, and feeling like there are just a few too many random pieces that might fit together into a bigger picture I don’t even want to think about right now.

There is a strong urge in me, after the past two and a half years, to just stick my head in the sand and focus only on what we very obviously can see. I’m not sure how I’d handle anything “more,” anything I can’t even really put a name or finger on yet, when I am so overwhelmed with the concrete challenges.

Even I have to admit, though, that ignorance – while bliss – is not a good thing. And really…if the doctor ends up just relieving our fears, it will be a beautiful thing.

I know I’m being vague. That’s not really purposeful; it’s just that we don’t know anything right now. We just have some things, some stray thoughts, that we keep bringing up and then talking circles around. We toss out words, names, conditions, but none of them are concrete and we have just as many reasons to disbelieve them as we have to think they could be true. I don’t want to toss a term out there until we get a diagnosis, if we get a diagnosis. I don’t want my son labeled.

On my first flight of the day (I’m waiting to board the second), I pulled up the pilot episode of Parenthood, a show that caught my interest but I never got around to putting on the DVR. I was expecting a comedy-drama around the craziness of kids and being a parent. What I wasn’t prepared for was one of the children in the show to have a disability, namely Asperger’s. Now, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that regardless of the diagnosis, any parent with a special needs child of any type has something in common. The boy was diagnosed in the episode, and the parents met after he’d gone back to school, the mom calling the dad from work. She started to dance around what she’d found out; he started to deny it. Then, she stopped and looked at him, shouting over his continued denials.

“There’s something wrong with our child! Don’t make me be alone with it.”

He stopped short, and they clung to each other as the scene faded. The emotions of it overwhelmed me. Here I am on a flight, crying my eyes out. I’m not sure if it was that emotional a scene to the general viewing audience, but for someone who’s been there, someone who one day had some vague suspicions and the next had been told there was no denying something wasn’t quite right… It was poignant. They did it well.

(I’m not sure if I was that thrilled with the rest of the show – I’m sitting here debating downloading another episode or just leaving it be, because to follow it for just that one scene…meh.)

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