While caring for her mother post-surgery and her grandmother during her final days, Megan Stielstra wonders who’s really taking care of who.
““You too have your tools,” wrote Kafka in a passage about fear, and I thought of that line whenever I was scared: I will get through this. I can talk to friends, write about it. Years later, I came across a different translation of the same text: “You too have your weapons.”
“For the first few months after my son was born, I called him The Baby, or sometimes just Him with a capital H, huge proper nouns to illustrate how completely he took over my life. Is he eating, not eating? Pooping, not pooping? What color is the poop, how long ago was the poop, did I mark the poop on the spreadsheet? I had spreadsheets. I had stuff—white noise CDs and magnetic blocks and this super high-tech video monitor with a remote wireless screen and night vision, which made The Baby glow electric green in the dark like he was a CIA target. It was a little unnerving, actually. It had two frequencies, an A channel and a B channel, in case you had two kids in separate rooms, and what’s interesting about this is that one of my neighbors must have owned this same monitor, because on channel A, I saw my baby, and on channel B, I saw someone else’s.”