As the busy single mom of a precocious eight-year-old daughter, I can’t afford to lie in a dark room all day trying not to vomit from the skull-crushing pain of frequent migraines. It’s my job to be there for my daughter, all day, every day. In the past, I would push through migraine pain. When my daughter looked up from her coloring book and asked me, “Mom, are you okay to play?” it didn't matter if my head was caught in a vise-like grip of throbbing agony.
“Sure, honey,” I’d say. “How about Princess and Pirates? En garde!” And then we'd rummage through my old costume box from when I was a theater major at Oberlin, until we found her princess tiara and my tricorn hat, and off to the backyard we'd go. My headache thundered with every step, but we'd duel for hours with our tin-foil-covered balsa wood swords, and climbed up and down from the treehouse my daughter suggested I build for her last winter, by myself, to her exacting specifications.
It's a good thing I minored in set construction!
You might be wondering why my daughter doesn't go to school. The truth is, my daughter is… not like other children. Ssh! I can't say more. She might overhear.
Mommy and daughter time is precious! Which is why I'm so happy that my family doctor prescribed a next-generation medication for people like me who suffer from frequent migraines. One monthly injection is all it takes to stop a migraine in its tracks. Now, I never have to say no when my daughter wants to be pushed up and down the rolling hills of our vast, empty backyard in a wheelbarrow decorated to look like an old-time prop plane. Look at us, my daughter in her Amelia Earhart goggles, me in my feather boa and Viking helmet! I'm fun! I'm a fun mom!
Oh, how we laugh, my little girl and I! These are the times I'm glad that her father has never really been in the picture, except financially. The rambling wooded estate where we live has been in his family for ages. It's a little bit large for just me and my daughter, but I love all of its dark, twisty sub-basements and secret hiding places. She always manages to find me, though. Because of my thoughts. She can hear my thoughts.
This new migraine medication works so well, I feel like I have my old life back. Granted it's not the life I had before my daughter WHO I LOVE TO PIECES AND IS PERFECT IN EVERY WAY as I tell anyone who'll listen, especially if they're listening with their mind. Now that I'm no longer in pain, I'm back playing fun games of Tag with my high-spirited imp as she tears around the grounds of our strangely isolated mansion and I lumber behind, slowed down by my Mom-Bot costume hastily made from a large appliance carton and tin foil. (Admittedly, it's not my best work, but she set the hourglass for a hard deadline of thirty minutes.)
More migraine-free days means more time to stay awake for three nights straight remaking my wonderful girl's one-eyed papier-mâché space alien mask, because she keeps insisting that the eye isn't right. It's a good thing I studied puppetry and Indonesian mask-making under Julie Taymor! Take a look at the craftsmanship I put into this space alien mask. Julie couldn't have done it better. Seriously, she couldn't. Do you know who came up with the concept of staging The Lion King with puppetry and giant masks? Hint: NOT JULIE TAYMOR. She was my teacher and she stole my idea! And won a Tony for it! But I try not to be angry. Anger is bad. It makes the migraines come.
Or, anyway, it used to. Thanks to this amazing medication, I no longer lie in the dark, semi-conscious, while the world stops for everything but me and my debilitating headaches. It's funny, but now that the migraines are gone, I sort of miss them. Not the excruciating pain and dry heaves, of course, but all the alone-time they gave me. I miss being able to put everything on hold, take to my bed, and silently regret the poor life choice I made back when I was a struggling playwright/director/puppeteer and I allowed myself to be impregnated by Satan in exchange for Julie Taymor's ruin.
And by the way, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark didn't exactly ruin her, did it? She's still working and I'm here making Mom-Bot costumes out of cardboard. Someone didn't hold up their end of the bargain. I'm just saying.
This medication has been nothing short of a miracle, or whatever the dark world's version of a miracle is. Every afternoon, as we amble home though eerily-illuminated woods after another relentless day of play, I feel well enough to ask my half-evil-daughter, “What should we do tomorrow?”
The contented look in her glowing red eyes as she surveys the sinister cornfield at the far reaches of our property is worth any sacrifice, especially if it's Julie Taymor. I'm going to enjoy that one.