To Martin, on Christmas

Martin, my love, my bunny rabbit, happy Christmas.

It’s been nearly four years since we began biomedical interventions to help you regain your health. If you read this one day, I thought you might like to know how Christmas 2014 looked.

This was the first season that you took an interest in Santa. Daddy and I have never done much to talk up Santa at home, so I’m not sure where you caught the faith. But you did. Since mid-December you’ve implored me to text Santa your holiday wishes, continuously, as they sprang from your head. I had to change Daddy’s contact information in my iPhone to “Santa Claus,” because with each outgoing text you inspected the screen to confirm that Santa would receive the message:

Santa Claus, Martin wants me to tell you that he did very well and played games today.

He would like you to bring him a Knuffle Bunny for Christmas.

Santa, Martin would also like Rudolph.

And a golf club and a golf ball.

And a calendar for January.

Santa, Martin finished all his soup!

I may never erase those text messages.

You approved the idea of lighting a fire to warm up the chimney for Santa, and you agreed that we should leave him a snack. I have to apologize: I forgot to leave a snack last night. This morning, when I saw you headed toward the family room, I grabbed a clean plate and a couple orange rinds from the counter, beat you to the fireplace, and claimed they were evidence of a snack consumed by Santa. Forgive me that! Know that I tried to hum your Santa vibe 100%, until you asked, “Will Santa come into my bedroom and give me kisses?” That was creepy.

You received pretty standard kid-presents. A lot of books. That Knuffle Bunny you asked for, along with a stuffed Paddington. A solar-system wall chart for your bedroom. Daddy bought you a fancy sweater; he’s that way. A family friend gave you a telescope! We can’t wait to assemble that.

I was a disappointed that you didn’t show much enthusiasm opening presents, or for the Rudolf-the-red-nosed-reindeer breakfast I made you. That being said, it didn’t take long to track the pathology of your indifference. Halfway through breakfast, you asked to “take a break” on the couch. Soon after that, you developed a fever, and snot streamed over your mouth and chin. You were sick, sick, sick. You are sick, sick, sick, with a fever and everything. That might not excite all parents. For us, remember that we passed years wherein your body never managed the healing reaction of a fever. In 2014 we’ve welcomed three or four fevers.

Our friend Edwina came for Christmas supper. I made everyone’s meal GAPS-compatible (with the addition of quinoa): deviled eggs and peanuts as hors d’oeuvres, then quinoa-vegetable stuffing, kale salad with cranberries and homemade dressing, salmon, mashed cauliflower, hazelnut-zucchini bread, and chocolate-avocado pudding, berries, chocolate chunks, and my own meringue cookies for dessert. A fat lot of good all that effort did: You weren’t well enough even to come to the table, let alone eat. At least Daddy and Edwina enjoyed the food.

The feast we had without you.

The feast we had without you.

We used “FaceTime” to talk with your family in South America and across the United States. Your sickly participation, though lethargic, was good-natured. Throughout the day I texted your U.S. grandparents and your uncles bulletins on your condition. I was worried that, having slept so much of the afternoon on the couch, you might not be able to fall asleep tonight. Your Uncle Rudy, from California, told the whole family that he was sure you would fall asleep fine. It’s nearly midnight now, and you’re still awake. Plainly, your Uncle Rudy is not a reliable predictor of these things.

You were supposed to go to the local Jewish Community Center tomorrow (Friday), for an all-day social program. That would have given me a lot of time to prepare to leave 7:00 am Saturday for Florida. Unless you make a miraculous recovery over the next eight hours, I’ll keep you home tomorrow; Saturday morning—please may you feel better by then—we’ll embark less than ready. Don’t feel bad. It’s not the first time I’ve scrambled to get it together for vacation. It won’t be the last.

Martin, my love, my bunny rabbit, may you cherish these days. Happy Christmas.

The breakfast I made you yesterday. You complained about eating eggs.

The breakfast I made you this morning. By then you weren't hungry because you were getting sick.

The breakfast I made you this morning. By then you weren’t hungry because you were getting sick.

One thought on “To Martin, on Christmas

  1. Pingback: Unexceptional | Finding My Kid

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