My Regret

My main regret about having Mandy is that my other three children got short-changed. I don’t know where I would have gotten the energy from, but  I wish somehow I could have done things differently.  When Mandy was born one daughter was 8, my son was 4, and my younger daughter was 3.  And I was working onMandy 2006 christmas card my Ph.D. in psychology.  Mandy was born with what at the time was a terminal heart defect, common to children with Down Syndrome, and I was a wreck. (Soon thereafter a procedure was developed and Mandy underwent a successful surgery).  All the children were aware that I couldn’t talk about her physical condition without crying, which ushered a lot of anxiety into the household. My oldest daughter briefly decided she wanted to be a pediatric heart surgeon for this very reason.  I let my oldest wait with me at the hospital through the surgery (they had given Mandy a 50-50 chance of surviving).

When the surgeon reported the operation a success [after which her heart stopped twice in recovery], I called my younger daughter at her elementary school to give her the good news.  My daughter said the loudspeaker just said for her to come to the office, and all the way to the principal’s office she prepared herself to hear that Mandy had died.

We were very lucky the family survived the trauma, but the marriage did not.  I had therapy and the support of friends, but in adjusting to the trauma of Mandy’s unexpected condition I rationalized that if she could have a happy life then her birth would be “all right.”  If not, then it was unthinkable. That decision, (to assuage my feelings of guilt) led me overall to put her needs before my other children. At the moment I drive 2 hours every Sunday to visit Mandy in a wonderful developmental center and take her out to lunch.  I let my relationship with my son dwindle to the point where he recently disowned me.  I have regrets.

About Nan Mykel

I used to think I would be a child prodigy, but then I got old. Formerly I had fantasies of rubbing elbows with cultural and academic leaders but that did not come to pass because I did not become a cultural or academic leader or any other kind of leader, for that matter. I am not even an "Alpha Dog," a term learned from a friend who had to become "Alpha Dog" in order to influence her own pet. (When gazes lock, she never looks away.) For years I expected to become a published author, but in passing I could not avoid the fact that I had little to contribute to the world's bulging dumpsters. I'm embarrassed to report that I also considered my primary process artistic productions powerful, rather than mildly neurotic. Which is not to say that I disrespect myself, only that I am beginning to doubt my potential for making a mark on the world. If I focus on strict self discipline I may be able to keep my garbage removed on a weekly basis, to keep the kitty box changed, the clothes cleaned, the dog watered, fed and walked, but that just catches me up to the starting mark again. When writing I physically grapple with words, wrestling them from their indifference into attempted chunks of awareness. I sit heavily on my chair; I breathe in artificially cooled air; my ear drums note the tap tap of the keyboard and the steady uninterrupted sound of the air conditioner, What is that sound? The roar of the ocean from 30 yards away...Inside, my thoughts are are balls in an electronic game machine, bouncing hither and yon from lever to lever. I am a little grim and intent until I recall a dream related by a black man in the prison where I once worked. He said that when he was a small boy, back home, he dreamed he was standing on his front porch pissing, and that he suddenly found himself pissing stars...
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1 Response to My Regret

  1. You have quite a difficult load to carry. My goodness. I am working to create an online community for special needs families and individuals. It’s a new blog, I’m still learning the ropes…Please, when you have a moment, check us out. Hopefully, we can be another source of comfort and support for you. https://providencefamily.wordpress.com/

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