I Do Not Have Three Children. I Have Four.

You know that feeling when you have a night of no sleep, bookended by two big, busy days, that all merge into one enormous travel day/night/day of deep confusion and harrowing sleep deprivation? That’s where I am now.

But one really doesn’t feel that one can complain about post-Hawaiian vacation jet lag and the cruelty of the red-eye flight that is the hallmark of air travel leaving the islands. Know why? Because it’s a decidedly first world problem, that’s why.

Waaaaaaaahh, I’ve been gobsmacked by the inhumanity of jet lag following my trip to paradise, booooo hooooo.

See, no one cares. And rightly so.

I got to go to the big island of Hawaii for eight heavenly days. I don’t need sympathy. I just need sleep to return my sense of direction and fortitude.

Meanwhile, I just took a two-hour nap and sucked down a Coke. I’m feeling vaguely human, which probably means this isn’t the best time to write, but oh well. I spent eight days without a computer (my laptop is the size of one of the smaller Hawaiian islands, and thus, didn’t come along with me), so I’m ready to dive back in. This post may have to be deleted later when I am more lucid. We shall see.

The trajectory of my thoughts as we vacationed followed an arc that roughly went like this: 1) awe, 2) astonishment that we were in paradise doing regular/amazing vacation things! with our children, 3) a bittersweet aftertaste that Jack wasn’t with us nor could ever be with us in such a setting (at least until the resurrection, yo, when all the disabilities are excised and he is restored to his glorious eternal self), 4) a sense of incompleteness at the reality of being with my husband and sons, a family that never feels quite whole anymore,  5) defiant joy—at actually being in Hawaii with my three boys whose lives chart a different course than Jack’s, and who also need my time and nurturing.

So yeah, I swam through bunches of emotions. They weren’t all bad. I’ve found that any time I am away from home, it feels less weird that Jack is gone. I believe this is because I am removed from my daily routine anyway.

But then there are times like last Monday evening, when a professional photographer took pictures of my entire extended family at and near the beach. He was organizing us into family units for the big group shots and said something about how Jeff and I have three boys. Of course, he was right. We were there with three boys. But inwardly, in a way I suspect only a mother could really deeply feel, I had a sense of wrongness.

No, amiable island photographer, I don’t have three boys. I have four. I endured miserable pregnancies with each son. I gave painful birth and suffered through breastfeeding and lost all the sleep and carried their chubby baby bodies around everywhere for years, to the detriment of my sciatic nerve. I reordered my entire life to be their mother and raise them. And two months ago, I placed my second son in a group home, permanently, because I could no longer care for him due to the nature of his disabilities.

I do not have three children. I have four.

But if you don’t know me, or this blog, or our history, it looks like we are a family of five—four guys plus me.

There’s too much to say in this one post about all the things I felt and experienced over the last week of dream vacationing with my people. Especially because I’m still partially a bot and will be until I acclimate.

I will revisit all of it. But first, laundry. And sleep.

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