Thursday, August 27, 2015

With just a little editing....

Janey, Freddy and I went up to Maine to visit my parents for four days, last Saturday through Tuesday.  My parents live in midcoast Maine, where I grew up, and I hate to have a summer go by without visiting there.  There is something about the summer in Maine that simply can't be found anywhere else, and I want my kids to know a little of that, especially this year Freddy, as he heads into adulthood---he will start college in eleven days.

Janey and the chickens
How did it go?  Well, with a little editing, it went well.  I got to show Freddy a lot of the places that I loved growing up, and he got to spend a lot of time talking with my parents.  Janey loved running around barefoot outside, talking a long walk with Grampie, singing along while Nana played the piano and running around after my dear friend Julie's chickens.  I got to take a lot of deep breaths of Maine air, and of course I took too many pictures, literally over a thousand.

What gets edited out?  Screaming, mostly.  Janey had many, many screaming spells.  They came on suddenly and often without any reason we could figure.  They were intense and overwhelming.  My parents live on a back dirt road, but they do have neighbors, and luckily, they had talked to the neighbors about Janey, or it well could have been thought something awful was happening to her.  The most severe editing dealt with a drive we took up Mt. Battie.  Mt. Battie is really a hill, but it has a view worthy of any mountain on earth, of Camden Harbor and all kinds of islands.  I wish I could have enjoyed it for more than a few moments, but something there triggered Janey and she flipped out and was hysterical, and bit me pretty hard.  We left fast.  Later on that drive, she did all she could to bite and hit Freddy, next to her in the back seat.  It took both our strengths to keep her from hurting him.
The briefly seen view from Mt. Battie

Janey, Nana and Grandpa
Freddy and I can look back on the trip and feel pretty good about it.  I'd say 80% of the time, Janey was fine, and sometimes, she was more than fine---she was a delight.  But that 20%...I don't think much of anyone except someone who has lived this life for a while could edit it out as we do.  My parents did a very good job with Janey, but they were shaken.  Like many people who see Janey's intense moments, they wonder how it's possible to keep going.  They worry about her safety and our safety.

So---is editing a good idea?  Should we do it?  The question is more if we could stop doing it if we wanted to.  If I thought all the time about the awful moments....well, at the very least, I wouldn't enjoy the good moments.  I have to edit in my mind.  I have to think about Janey's delight running after the chickens, the fun of hearing her surprise my parents with yet another song she knows, the wonderful moment when she saw Daddy again and said, confused about the exact terms, "It's your brother Daddy!"  Reversed pronouns and muddled relationship names aside, her voice showed how she felt.

We can edit, and can be left with memories of a good trip.  But the larger world can't be asked to do the same.  And more importantly, I don't know if Janey can do that editing.  How does she remember things?  Does she remember the good times, or remember the scary, out of control times?  How would she tell me she felt about our time in Maine, if she could?  I don't know.  I really don't know.  I hope she would understand that we are trying hard to give her a good childhood, and that we are doing our best, and that we would do anything within our power to ease the tough times for her, if we knew how.

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