How Has Your Life Changed?

That was one of the questions the reporter asked me last week, about life with Leelo. I hope she didn't bother to look past my poker face, to see the crumbling, hastily spackled, aching person behind it. I don't need that part of my personal shit in the paper, even if it's a paper that no one reads besides Ep and Jo.

I try not to dwell too much on why we live in this tangential universe, even though Leelo and his ways and needs have reshaped most of what we do, and how we do it. This is the reality we know, this is where we live. No use wishing it were otherwise.

But I do, sometimes. I think of how things might have been, how they were supposed to be. Tiny things like Leelo being the only kid who isn't interested in picking blackberries when our friends come over, even though their son is one year younger than him and picked a whole bucket himself. Bigger things like being stuck down here in the basement all day long while Leelo is in therapy, when by rights Leelo and I should be spending our afternoons at the park or zoo, or riding a train.

Those of you who read Jo's blog may recall her briefly mentioning my participation in a discussion at the park. My being able to join in was an anomaly; normally I spend all my park time tending or chasing after Leelo, and wouldn't be able to participate in discussion threads of more than half a sentence. But Seymour joined us yesterday and took on Leelo duty, bless him. Then again, if Leelo wasn't Leelo, Seymour would've been able to join the discussion, too.

This, the summer before Iz starts at Esperanza, was always intended to be spent in Costa Rica. We've friends with a beachfront place south of Quepos, and they constantly badger us to come freeload indefinitely. This was to be the summer we did just that, the summer we all immersed ourselves in Spanish. Instead, we're hesitant to take Leelo out of therapy for more than five days, and have spent this summer mostly sticking around. When we did vacation, we brought one of Leelo's therapists along.

Iz and Leelo's birthdays are 21 months apart, but fall in consecutive years (1999, 2000). She's January, He's November. Once we got over the shock of having two kids in diapers, Seymour and I thought this arrangement delightful and convenient--our kids would almost always be at the same school, and would graduate in two quick pops. Instead, Iz hopped up a grade, Leelo's slipped down a year, our boy will not be attending Esperanza, and we've got a little surprise coming down the pipe. Ah, well, at least I can rationalize not working outside my own castle for another few years.

Our life isn't without plenty of laughter and levity. Seymour and I were chuckling about the kids we already have the other day, about how unprepared we will be if #3 is a "regular kid." We truly have no context for such a specimen.

Leelo brings us gifts, too. His love and enthusiasms are pure, unbridled, untempered by mood or whim. Iz may sulk and deny and grow away, but there's a good chance Leelo will not. He won't see the point.

I can live with a kid like that, in this universe or any.

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