The conversations have been happening at bedtime, when Sabrina tends to get chatty. Last night, she told me she saw a Friendship Circle sticker on a kid's car at school. It's a national group that offers programs for kids with special needs; Max goes to one on Sunday mornings.
I ask her if there were any kids with special needs in her school.
"No," she says.
"Well, sometimes you can't tell just by looking that a kid has special needs," I say.
"There's nobody like Max at my school," she says.
"Do you know the name of what Max has?" I ask. We've never used the words before; I've only told her that his brain got hurt at birth.
"No," Sabrina answers.
"It's called cerebral palsy," I say.
"How did he get it?" she asks.
"Well, something happened to his brain at birth," I say.
"What happened?" she asked. "How did it get hit?"
"Something happened to it on the inside," I say.
"Will Max always have it?" she asks.
I swallow hard. "Yes," I say.
"Even when he's ninety?" she asks.
"Yes," I say.
"I want to go to sleep now," she says. And we're done.
These conversations are happening more frequently now—only with me so far, not Dave. I'm finding them difficult. I feel no pain when I tell other people "He has cerebral palsy" or "He had a stroke at birth." I'm completely matter-of-fact about it. When Sabrina and I discuss it, the words get stuck in my throat. This is new to me, though; as we keep talking, I'm sure it will get easier...as everything has.