Friday, March 21, 2008

My Bat Boy

My son talks non-stop. A steady stream of words from the moment he wakes up, until we parents collapse in bed, mentally overdrawn, long before he goes to sleep still mumbling and making weird noises. Its as if his verbal facility is on overdrive. It is incessant, a word that now has a head pounding visceral quality I never understood so completely before. It is unrelenting. There are questions, running commentary, syllabic babbling and singing. He asks questions and does not wait for answers before verbalizing again.

I know in my heart that all this sound is about how his brain is wired, not so much about driving me insane. I am trying to think of it as a child’s form of echolocation—he is trying to find a slippery world that keeps morphing and changing, a world full of dangers we cannot see. Like a bat in the dark he is trying to locate his world.

His anxiety is catching, maybe it’s the lack of light as we wait for spring, but the abyss has been lurking round my corners. Once I am not insanely busy, I start to be able to see the ghosts. Maybe my son is a Geiger counter as the seismic waves begin their rumble. Maybe he is just more sensitive than others and he is feeling the global angst in an era of global warming, MRSA and crashing economies. I mean, in all honesty, how can one assure and comfort a child and tell them it will be all right? Will it? Most of the time we are hair from disaster.

When you have stared into the black hole of the human condition, how do you pull back from that edge and do Disney?

I hold on to a few scraps of grace and hope I don’t go over the cliff. Sun in fall leaves. Snow drops poking through mud. Fresh snowflakes. Toddler giggles. Rossini and Tchaikovsky. That’s it. In the end that’s just it—that’s what you get.

And still my child is talking talking as though the sound of his voice will keep the monster of chaos at bay. Like the small child who talks loud in the hallway to scare the monsters away……

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