Parenting Blog


When sung by Angelica Schuyler, the word possesses a seductive warmth. Helpless, yes; his eyes how they leave her so.

The view from 10,000 feet is one of a great run. We have had such good fortune. Yeah, there was the weeks of PT after the ankle thing and the recent still unexplained toe thing, the Thanksgiving emergency ear thing too, but other than some eye-popping medical bills, nothing weighed too heavily on us as a family. It too shall pass. And it all did there or thereabouts.

From ground level, more dents in the surface are visible and patches of invasive weeds with trouble lurking within are now unmissable.

Last week tested us all. I have no frame of reference — or coping mechanism it seems as I’m failing about like never before — for the level of helplessness I’m experiencing as the tattered flag of a marriage falls limp on the pole despite severe winds swirling, as our beloved 15-year-old tabby cat stares aimlessly with a motel’s neon vacancy light flickering in her eyes, and most devastatingly, as a teenage girl battles a reaction to a reaction to some bullshit poison ivy/oak/sumac allergy.

Doctors, nurses, hospital beds, creams, pills, baths, burning, itching, blisters, hives, crying, sleepless nights, and I’m so fucking helpless.

I want to hold my girl, but can not. She hurts too much. I want to help my girl, but can’t. Nothing brings relief. I’m the fixer unable to fix shit. I’m the idea guy with no good ones. I’m falling apart watching her suffer, watching her wonder if her skin will ever return to normal, watching her squirm to find the least miserable position to be still.

We still don’t know what is causing her pain. We’re down for the count. The doctors don’t know. In a way, they are flailing about as well. Google offers ideas but doesn’t know either. My couple of college credits are of no use. We’re all so helpless.


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