Barking Seals

Two days ago my son woke in the middle of the night with a barking cough, not able to catch his breath. He sounded like a seal calling out to its mate. Turns out, it was croup. As I read Dr. Sears, I started to panic. It said that sometimes kids with croup need immediate medical attention which, given the late hour, would mean a trip to the emergency room of our local hospital. Then I remembered that I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina. Here, my relationship to my child has to have a paper trail a mile long to be seen as valid in the eyes of some people. Then I remembered we have just moved and I have no idea where the papers are that legalized our relationship to one another. What if they wouldn’t let me go back with him? What if some homophobic asshole decides that only his other mom could be with him, comfort him, hold him? In a time when I should have been able to just focus on my son, I felt panic for myself. Panic that I would be denied the opportunity to care for my son. MY son. And some fucking asshole (pardon my language) would make that decision for me and for my son based on some bastardized interpretation of the bible. I ran through the scenarios in my head as I waited for our pediatrician to call. I could sneak in behind a nurse’s aide, crouched down low so that the asshole who told me I couldn’t come in didn’t see me. I could grab a random patient in a wheelchair and push them down the hall like I knew just where I was going, all the while listening for my boy calling out to me. I could scream in the waiting room until they let me back or had me arrested. It took our pediatrician an hour to call back so I had a lot of time to create these scenarios, each ending in the loving embrace between a mother and her child. Turns out that he just needed a night to recover and then he was fine. No hospital necessary. I haven’t really talked to my partner about what happened in my head the other night, about the panic that ensued. I wonder if she ever has those kinds of reactions or if she just gets to be his parent without worry. The next morning I made sure we knew where my boy’s adoption papers were. Safely in the glove box of my car, just in case.

-Betsy

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One response to “Barking Seals

  1. Whoa what a stressful night.
    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way (!), but if I wrote the post I would’ve called it ‘Barking mad’ as I think it’s exactly the kind of antiquated stupid law that makes us get all crazy with worry and also seriously ANGRY.
    I don’t think we’d need to worry about this in NZ, well not from a homophobic perspective, but I have changed my surname to have my wife’s surname hyphenated with mine so I’ll have the same name as my kids will, as they’ll take her surname. I don’t wanna be having to carry papers proving my relationship to them! Plus it’s a gorgeous sounding French Creole name – bonus 🙂

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