Wednesday, August 12, 2009


We’re on vacation this week on Cape Cod. I almost feel I need a long blank space in the page to let that thought sink in. It’s taken a couple of days, but we’re getting out of our normal city hustle and into a more relaxed vacation flow. It’s like coming off the highway after a very long trip - there’s still a tendency to let the speed drift up. 

We chose this week and this location for our vacation because we had the opportunity to overlap some of our time away with friends who were vacationing close by. 

We live in different cities now and it’s hard to see one another as much as we would like. Even here on vacation, we’re a few miles apart and don’t see each other every day. But there’s something about a close friendship that makes time and distance less relevant. And when you see each other after a pause it’s like taking up a well loved book that you’d just put down for a while. 

And that’s what it’s been like for us this week. We’ve been to see our friends and their two wonderful children twice now on this trip. Each time we meet and settle in - which takes about a minute - and let our kids run (or crawl) around the yard or the living room, it feels like home. It feels even more homelike than it did we we saw one another nearly every week; back when we had the leisure and our good friends close at hand. I feel, when we meet after long intervals now, like an expatriate on a short visit home; the language, the food, the manners of the place that you are from are as much inside you as they are in the place that made you - and you love it all the more for it’s (or your) absence. 

Tonight as I drove our friends home from our house - they took the bus to meet us - I knew that I was having one of those moments that you carry around in your pocket forever. When I had piled all the kids things into the back of our small wagon to make room for the extra passengers, I had looked regretfully at our cluttered floor - scattered toys, cloths and dry Cheerios (from my son). 

“They’re friends,” I thought with some comfort, “I hope they’ll understand I haven’t had the time to clean.”

We were underway for a few minutes when the the older of the their children asked if he was sitting where my one year old son normally does. 

“Yes,”  I said, thinking that it was an uncannily prescient thought for an 8 year old, “How did you know that?”

“Because it smells,” he said. 

There was a small pause while we all took in this honest observation and then all burst out laughing together. 

“I’ll roll down the window,” I said still laughing. 

We laughed and gabbled and were as silly as the children for the few miles that separated us from their vacation home. The warmth and delight that I felt for those minutes were rain in a cloud burst and I was soaking from it. 

I know I’ll bring the thought of that ride out of my pocket on the many comfortless nights to come. I’ll think of that night and our friends won’t seem so far away. They might just be a town or two over. I’ll think of them and recall some of that warmth and gratitude. 

For me, when someone takes up residence in your heart, distance and time cease to be meaningful. They are always with you. 


the crucible said...

Stumbled here from Motherlode in my own "On ON ON" mode. Beautiful, evocative and spot on. A window into our world of normal/medically fragile kids.

Bo's mom

HRG said...

Like Bo's mom, I read your blog on Motherlode and thought I'd share some of my thoughts with you.

My daughter Angela will be 6 in October. She has congenital hydrocephalus, discovered in utero. She had her first brain surgery for shunt placement at 4 weeks old. She's had 3 other brain surgeries for shunt replacement. The shunt failures and surgeries are definitely the scary moments in our lives. The thought of another one keeps me half-asleep at night - for no one can even know when her shunt will be blocked again.

She was disgnosed with left hemiplegia on her first birthday. She also had speech and cognitive delays which she "graduated from" before her 2nd birthday. I went to a nearby mall every day for months to give her the freedom to walk, either holding on to my hands or by using a walker. She walked at 20 months!

We were blessed to have worked with a wonderful physical therapist who truly cared about our daughter. She came up with various playful ways to provide therapy. At 15 months, our PT came up with an idea, untested anywhere (as far as we know). We sewed the end of the left arm of a slightly bigger jacket
and put it on Angela backwards such that the zipper/buttons will be on her back and her right (good) hand cannot be used. Angela wore it for just a couple of months for a few hours a day until we noticed that she's using her left hand and fingers more and more.

Angela is living proof that early intervention by good therapists work! She's now taking piano lessons, swimming lessons/aquatic therapy, she can read and is very social. I hope you can find dedicated, caring and really good therapists and doctors like we did.

Angela went to a public integrated preschool for special needs children (along with some "role models") where services/therapy were provided for free. She's now very excited to start kindergarten at a Spanish immersion school (she claims she'll help us learn Spanish too!).

Angela's cerebral palsy will never go away. She will always require physical therapy. But truthfully, CP doesn't seem to stop her from enjoying life. So we try to not make it prevent us from enjoying life with her.

Your son is blessed to have caring sister, parents and grandparents. A huge plus is a big sister who is his "role model".

Warm wishes to your family!

Miles in Seattle

Jess said...

I laughed out loud at the 8-year-old's comment, as you must have also. Thanks for the great laugh and keep up the writing.

Cathy said...

I suspect your beautifully written guest post at Motherlode will net you many more readers here--that's how I got here. I'm adding you to my list of blogs, and I just wanted you to know that I'm enjoying your writing. Best of luck with the new therapy for your son.

David Sexton said...

To Miles in Seattle,
Thanks you for your comment. It's really hopeful for us to hear. Your daughter sounds like she's doing great.


David Sexton said...

Hi Bo's Mom,
Thank you. We just got the feedback from that tough day - which is preliminary but not bad. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Take care and hope you are well,

David Sexton said...

Hi Cathy,
Thanks! I'll try to keep up with my posts. Please stop by when you can.

Take Care,

David Sexton said...

Hi Jess,
We got the car cleaned the next day. You know I think after living with kids for a few years, I'm losing my sense of what smells bad. It's really embarrassing, but very funny.

Take care,