Tuesday, October 21, 2014
31 for 21: Worry
Max has a stomach bug this evening -- the kind that will probably interrupt my writing several times, the kind that all kids get. With it comes the parenting hassles -- the clean up, the likely sleepless night, the mental rescheduling of tomorrow's commitments. But with Max, there also comes the worry.
It's hard to ever look at an illness as just an illness. There are always a list of maybe-worries behind it, risk factors that come along with Down syndrome.
It's hard to know what to blame on the third 21st chromosome, and what to just chalk up to childhood. I've known plenty of kids who have dealt with ongoing minor illnesses, and I've watched their parents worry about them. I'm not sure how, or if, this is any different. I just know that it's hard.
This summer Max hit a growth spurt, grew two inches, and lost a pound. He also had a short string of stomach troubles. Not good, but not terribly unusual for an ever-more-active toddler. But our doctor was on top of things, and there were blood draws and changes in diet and extra weigh-ins (he's gaining again now, by the way). Thyroid? Celiac? Leukemia? Yes, I know that an upset stomach isn't a sign of leukemia, but shoot if that word doesn't pop into my mind every single time Max is sick. I worry that the whole family will get the bug, and then I turn around and worry that if we don't it might mean that something is wrong with Max. I worry with him that I am missing something, that if I could just put the pieces together his pain would go away.
On these worrying nights, it also hits me that it is likely Max will always have a guardian of some kind. Most days I can't wrap my mind around being responsible for two human beings until they turn 18. It is so hard, oh so hard, to make decisions for a baby and a child who can't explain their bodies in words. Is Toby sick enough to keep home from school? Is Max up again at night because of teething, or a sore throat, or a grumbling belly? How long will Christer and I be the ones making decisions for Max, and how many times will we make the wrong call.
So I write, and then I run back upstairs to cuddle and comfort. And I remember that worries are always worst in the dark.
Sleep well, little Max. Here's hoping that we're both feeling a little better come morning.