This day started out the way our days very often do: way, way too early. Carter was up at 2 am, unable to go back to sleep. By 8 am, he was running laps through the house, kicking dogs and spitting on everything. He called me names, screamed, and was just a little whirling dervish of misery. I had errands to run (Christmas doesn’t come to our house till Saturday (It’s that whole shared custody thing.), but the stores aren’t open tomorrow.), but there was no way I could take him out in that state. I gave him some clonidine and just tried to minimize the damage he did until he finally fell asleep.
Three hours later, he woke up screaming and mean as a snake. I thought I was sunk; no way to run the errands, and the Christmas clock ticking. Brian came home from work at 1 pm to rescue me and left with my list. I hunkered down with Carter, trying to get some laundry done in between keeping him from spitting on every surface in the house and getting between him and the dogs.
And then, around 4 pm, something happened. Was it because we increased his risperdal dose last night? Or did Santa just come early? Whatever the reason, the boy turned nice all of a sudden. More than that, he turned happy. Happy! He talked to us at the dinner table. He complimented his dad on the delicious food. He made a joke and laughed.
A little flame of hope flickered in my chest and I squashed it down fast. But then, after dinner, Brian went to clean up the kitchen while I folded a load of laundry and we both finished what we were doing without interruption. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves; we’re so used to stopping what we’re doing to deal with a crisis, or getting things done by relay because Carter needs supervision, we were caught by surprise. Then I found this:
OK, so you might not know it, but this is a big deal. For weeks now Carter has hated Spencer, done little but call him names and beg us to make him go back to his mom’s house. This would be painful for most brothers, but for Spencer, the most devoted, kind-hearted brother any kid could ever hope for, it’s been agonizing.
Then Lolly got a little jealous of all the fun and coziness going on in that chair and decided to try to join in. Just 12 hours ago, and for all of the past few months, this would have sent Carter into a blind red rage. Instead, this:
He laughed. No shit, from the guts, real laughter.
I hope and pray that the boy who wakes up here tomorrow morning will be the same boy I tucked into bed tonight. I hope and pray that this is something real, not a fluke. But whatever happens, I have received this gift, this reminder that my little boy is still in there.