Thursday, November 18, 2004

Evil eyes and shaved pigs

As excuses go for failing to update the blog more often, this one is a doozy: I've been off with a serial killer.

Strange, but true. The trial of Michigan momma's boy Coral Eugene Watts, the so-called Sunday Morning Slasher, began 10 days ago and ended yesterday with the conviction of the man who's confessed to killing at least 13 women.

Talk about your crazy contrasts. All day, I'd sit and listen about how this wacko stabbed, choked, drowned and hung women because he thought they had "evil eyes," then I'd rush to the hospital, stroke Will's lustrous red hair and coo "Barber, Barber Shave a Pig" and other nursery rhymes. The routine kept me from home from 7 to about 9 every day.

I'd known a lot of Watts' victims relatives from covering the story for a few years, but hanging out with them reinforced not only their strength but sometimes how the smallest things can be the most emotional. Watts killed their daughters 20 years ago. Most have talked about the deaths for so long they can do so without crying. By this point, it's almost rote. The tears would come when they ventured "off-script," and started thinking about stolen moments in lives lost. Things you wouldn't expect, like lost notebooks or missed birthdays, were the most emotional.

I'd never suggest I know how they feel, because that's foolish. But Mo and I have become very good at being matter-of-fact about Will: He's born small, he's not like other preemies, and in all likelihood, he has a genetic condition that could make his life harder.

For weeks, we hoped and prayed that he wouldn't be retarded. No one wants to acknowledge it, but a social shame really does remain. Now, whatever happens, we'll deal with it. If he is, we'll just have to love him more. Our worries are for Will. First, we want him to breathe on his own, then gain some weight, then be healthy. And that's really it. We want our child to one day be healthy enough to breathe without a machine and eat without a feeding tube.

Happiness, we're not worried about. We'll force it on him whether he likes it or not.

There are hard moments. Some are obvious, like bad weekends or his "episodes." Others are less so, like sappy car commercials involving fathers and sons or even seeing healthy children. My new joke is that all children over 5 pounds are grotesque giants. I'm sure as time passes, the hard moments will grow farther apart.

But enough rambling. I'm sure Maureen will have a field day making fun of this post and its pomposity, but what good is a blog if it's not self-indulgent?

Will is hanging out and doing fine on the ventilator. We had a really nice time with him last night. It's so great to see his huge eyes and watch him wiggle around. It makes you appreciate him so much more.

The latest word is they'll keep him on the ventilator through the weekend, then try the C-PAP again on Monday. They also are going to draw some blood and send it to Washington, D.C., for some high-tech tests in hopes of pinpointing his syndrome.

I always knew my baby would make a splash in Washington someday.


Blogger steve_kurth said...

I can relate to that sense of getting caught off of your emotional gaurd. Out the window of my office there's a schoolyard. You get to recognize some of the kids and you can tell a fair amount about them by watching them play. Today there was a bunch playing football. They were mixed ages, some twice the size of others. The big kids were doing a pretty good job of including the younger ones, throwing them passes and such, but it was really no contest.

Except for this one little kid. He just looked scrappier than the rest of the kids; he was smaller than most of the younger ones even and he had this shaggy head of blonde hair that was just flying everywhere. And I say it was flying because on every play the kid went at like 100%. Charging the big ones, diving for things out of his reach. Everyone else kind of walked through the motions, but this little guy was going like there was no tomorrow. He wasn't making a lot of plays, but you had to love his gusto.

On one play he ran across the field and dived at a big kid's ankles. Instead of popping right up afterwards, he rolled over on his back. His chest started heaving up and down just like Will and I pretty much lost it. Of course, he got up after a moment and went back to it.

Thanks again for making this blog.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Hedricks said...

P.S. -- Whenever I see a photo of Will, I think of one of my favorite songs...part of the lyrics are

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know it’s true
You’re a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you’re covered with the fingerprints of God

Never has there been and never again
Will there be another you
Fashioned by God’s hand
And perfectly planned
To be just who you are
And what He’s been creating
Since the first beat of your heart
Is a living breathing priceless work of art

6:04 PM  

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