I don’t know if the last 2 1/2 months have been the toughest time of my life — I certainly remember a few times when I was younger when I felt a lot more hopeless — but when the person you love the most in the world is already on long-term disability for other problems and then breaks a bone in her back, that’s pretty rough.
Five weeks ago, my wife had surgery to repair the fracture. She is recuperating slowly, but has yet to have a single day without pain only a few levels below shark bite.
No fun at all.
Until this weekend.
Our daughter Pauline came to visit from Jamaica, and she brought along a bundle of fun — our 16-month-old grandson Lexington Wesley Kastner.
Lex is at an age when he seems truly to be enjoying himself. as often as not, he has a big smile on his face. His vocabulary — at least the words we can identify as meaning something — is still in single digits, but this kid is constantly chirping. He enjoys so many things, too. Pauline says what he seems to have the most fun with at all is carrying the broom around their house, and we saw some of that this weekend.
We didn’t do all that much this weekend. Nicole is going through a rough period and we were pretty much tied to the house and the area around it. We do have a “grandchildren’s park” in our community and Pauline took Lex there a few times so he could play.
I haven’t been around babies much. I never fathered a child myself and I didn’t become a dad until Pauline was 12 and Virgile was 7. I really think my closest exposure as an adult came when I vacationed in Los Angeles in May 1986 and stayed with my friend Mick Curran. His daughter Kelsey — my unofficial niece — was just seven months old then. They lived in a small apartment and Kelsey was suffering from colic at the time. She was wailing pretty much nonstop for most of the night.
People who have — or have had — babies love to tell those who haven’t that that’s the way life is, and if that small amount of crying bothers you, it’s a good thing you never had to care for a baby. Maybe that’s true, but I also figure that if it’s your own kid, and you’re young, you manage it.
So he shrieked a little having his hair washed. He was still wonderful.
And if you look at the second picture, having him around was good for Nicole’s spirits too.
Her pain is starting to improve, very slowly but measurably. If we can get past that and get her back on her feet regularly, we can start working on the other stuff.
It’s too bad Lex won’t be around every day to cheer up his grandparents, but spending time with him this weekend did a lot for me.
Winter is nearly over.
I’m hoping for a good spring.