This week has been one of those weeks during which I find myself fully convinced, every hour upon the hour, that I am not cut out for this motherhood thing. Sure, I hear you say, but isn’t that every week for you? To which I respond, why yes, Clever And Careful Reader! That is indeed every week for me!
When Virgil wrote, in his tenth Eclogue, that love conquers all – omnia vincit amor – he was not making a statement about the power of love to overcome all obstacles. He was not suggesting that love can or should prevail over anyone or anything that might stand in its way; he was not asserting that love is subject only to its own rules; he was not saying, with the poet Bono, that love is a higher law. He was not saying that love conquers everything. He was saying that love conquers everyone. Love conquers us all – it defeats all of us, it claims dominion over all of us, it overpowers every single one of us – and so we really should just consider surrendering. Omni vincit amor et nos cedamus amori, bitches.
Every visit to the doctor, now, brings bad news. In the early days, there were reassurances and messages of hope – some boys make it out of their teens, there are ways to slow the deterioration of his muscles, he might stay mobile for a long time, he might still get to enjoy some of his boyhood in the ways that other boys take for granted – but now, there are only somber descriptions of what will happen next, of what needs to be done to make things easier, of what use can be made of his diminishing time.
They want to put rods in his spine, she tells me. So that he can stay upright for a bit longer.
Rods in his spine. He won’t be able to bend, I think, before remembering, he cannot bend now. Not in the real, active sense of bending, anyway: he slumps, he droops, he slides forward in his chair, unable to hold his own weight even while sitting, a Pinocchio without strings. His spine is collapsing under the weight of his body, his muscles having deteriorated beyond the point where they can provide any support. He’s like a doll now, a puppet. But he has no strings by which he might be pulled up. He has no Blue Fairy to wave a wand and make such strings unnecessary. He has only surgeons, and rods.