Max Laughs Too Loud

I learned German to shame the people who shush us in restaurants. “Wir sind frisch von Krankenhaus,” I say, “lass uns unsere Freude haben.” My accent is as perfect as I can manage, Hochdeutsch, slow and deliberate, and I maintain eye contact way past the point of their discomfort. “We are fresh from the hospital. Let us have our happiness.” My joy is precious and if you try to steal it I will cut you as deeply as I can without my kids noticing.

We made it 8 months without a hospital visit, the longest stretch yet. This time it was something that could be classed as an accident: a playground stumble, a tumble, a bonk on the head. But you don’t hear the words brain bleed without getting a little bit desperate for the good times, even if he probably doesn’t have one and you probably won’t have to rush back for a too-late brain surgery because you tried to take him home for monitoring instead of staying at the hospital like they told you to.

We’re out of the woods now, recovering, drinking kale smoothies for breakfast and planning our afternoon treats. I know that Max is more likely to have these incidents because of his macrocephaly and poor motor control, and I make myself remember that he’s also more likely to have these because he has friends to roughhouse with and a school to go to and can get up enough speed to fall down hard.

I’ll do my yoga, I’ll get my sleep, I’ll talk to my loved ones and feed myself well and I’ll glory in the moment. If you’re a casual bystander who thinks you need to make my kids fit your expectations of how children should express their pleasure in public, though, I might bite you in the fucking face.

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