Family Planning



Opaque, a future like dirt

inert but teaming with potential

I squint as if I could see

as if all the plotting

could control what creation sprouts


Meanwhile I reach over the mattress to pinch

the fabric and billow it back across itself

as it becomes a landing pad

to my little gymnast’s attempted somersault


Today I will fill up the gas tank,

pack school lunch, meet a deadline,

fold and scroll,

type, scribble, pick,

and sigh as I pull my finger tips along the earth

seeking space enough

for one more seed





This photo makes me laugh. Notice he is watering the space between the flowers — perhaps a good metaphor for hope!

Having a medically complex child changes a family in innumerable ways. The decisions that come up everyday are more nuanced. When my husband and I consider another pregnancy, there is no right or wrong decision. But, any decision feels uncomfortable. Often I feel confident that our hearts and home have space enough for another child; and I breathe deeply into the love we would wrap around that new life. However that feeling is quickly muted by dizzying uncertainty - a fearful list of ‘what ifs,’ some of which reflect the medically and emotionally traumatic moments with Alden.

When I look at my son, I am both joyful and heartbroken. We continue to do all we can to search for the cause of Alden’s brain malformation, but the genetic mishap we are told is lerking in his genome has yet to be unveiled. All clinical genetic tests have come back “normal.” So we are waiting on genetic research, which has no clear timeline to answers. After our best calculations are complete, there is still no control. Turns out there never was. And so I garden, and hope, and wait.

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