With my feet on the air and my head on the ground I accept the sleep deprivation that come from having a sick child. You think after 13 years that it will go away and you can sleep through the night regardless of illness except for puking but no, small hands with bed head hair stand in underpants outside my door.
I feel less powerless in my powerlessness as they get older as I can reasonably tell them I can’t make anything go away and especially at 230am. Luckily I can convince them to try to live through it as our alternatives are the emergency room or I can kill them and put them out of their misery. They usually choose going back to bed.
After periods of being able to do whatever I want I feel offended and constrained by the promise of fixing it all in the morning. Doctor visits, co-pays, medication I have to remember to give and other activities that will have to be canceled is exhausting to arrange.
And i am already exhausted from being awakened at 230am by small people who need me. So, I feel lucky and pissy and that seems about right.
There is just too much going on in our household. Chica is getting boobs and a waist. Spawn has so much leg and underarm hair. Our bathroom smells moldy. I am changing jobs. Spouse is making goats. There is an endless stream of crap all over our coffee table. The cats have fleas. The dog won’t stop biting his ass. It’s hot. It’s muggy. The kids are NOT in school and the summer is just going by too fast.
Every year at some point since the kids each turned about 5 years old there is this fast forward button that seems to be pressed and I just don’t know where all the time goes, what we should be doing and how I am supposed to manage it all. Too many changes, too much that makes me feel like I have no idea what to do.
I look at older adults, strangers around my town and resist the urge to constantly ask them how to manage it all? How did you survive and seem so dang happy now? Change is exciting and fun mostly but I find myself wanting do-overs for most things. I try to practice my yoga-be-present-in-the-moment thing but it just doesn’t work the way I think it should.
When do you reach the age where you feel like you aren’t going to keel over from the weight of all this adulthood?
Anyone, anyone? Buehler?
Sunday marked our 22nd anniversary. We were 21 and 22 when we met and moved in together. Neither of us really felt anything much changed when we got married and I just count the date from when we met because-we have never not lived together and how is the piece of paper obtained in Martha’s Vineyard make us any more together? It doesn’t, so whatevs.
22 years is a really long time and I can say honestly that I can’t believe it has been that much time. Like, smacking my forehead as in I coulda had a V-8 style. I mean, we have owned 3 houses, have lived in two states, had two children, have finished school, people have died, other people have gotten married that were children when we first met-you know, the whole life thing has gone on.
Some days it is a glory to behold-our love. And some days I can’t believe I haven’t run away yet. Or killed him. Or myself. Or the children.
Everyday that THAT does not happen feel like I am winning this marriage/family/children/life bullshit.
One point for me, since we all still live and no one is in jail.
I know that doesn’t seem romantic but romance is for amateurs. We are pro’s at this living together shit. I want love and laughter and for the most part, there has been lots of that.
Walking the dog in the twilight hours in this late spring burgeoning summer season with the inky blue sky gradually lit by far away stars I wonder how I can stick right here on earth. I understand the rudiments of gravity, feel its invisible force upon me sticking my feet to the earth.
I feel like a cactus in the middle of a desert standing still, dew forming and burning away as the sun rises, birds perch precariously on my spines, feeling the wind whip around me, rooted to the spot.
Otherwise I am a stone in the middle of the creek, sticks pushing up against me resisting the rush of water, leaves resting on me, fish hiding behind my edges and then swimming on.
Possibly I am a bird with short wings that allow me only to fly short distances like a fat turkey who can get more quickly across the road if I were to just wobble across rather than flinging upward and forward with effort and air.
We don’t feel the earth spinning and that is a blessing as the life you live on earth shouldn’t be one where you have to squeeze your eyes shut to keep from throwing up. The earth turns around in space with all of us on it and it is wonderful with your eyes open, staring at the stars.
He didn’t even come right up to me to hug but he called me 3 times while he was away at camp. Got flustered trying to find some kind of yum welcome home lunch to get and drove in a couple of circles which gave us some time to chat in the car. The boy was full of baby turtles, frogs, eagles, osprey, vultures, ropes course, lemon cake, watered down apple juice, wearing the same dang shirt for 3 days, his Indiana Jones type hat and a few bumps and scratches. He didn’t smell too badly and looks about an inch taller, voice deeper still but hugged and kissed me all I wanted.
Until he walked in the house, ignored the amazing sub on homemade italian bread I just went and got him, went up the stairs to his room and shut the door.
And here I sit, the living room all by myself but happy because he is where he should be. Near me enough that I could command him out of his room to kiss me again. But I won’t and learning to give him space is really hard because all I want to do is reel him in closer and closer like a fish and stick him in my tank. Forever.
At least he loves me and I know it.
Our son is this fountain of big feet, smelly-sweaty armpits, deep voice, acne, surly attitude, exasperation and brilliance. At 13 years old he is officially a teenager and while I know the passage of time marches on it still seems to me that I am frozen at 30 years old with a 2lb 14oz wee baby who nursed until he was 4 1/2 years old. He is still much the same person as he was then just in this huge, gangly, unweildy package of budding man-ness. His voice his deep and unfamiliar even though his topics are much the same. He has recently found a fondness for magic and is constantly opening his bedroom door while I am trying to use the bathroom and asking me if I want to see a magic trick?
I think he is magical enough growing into this smart, caring, loving, funny and adventurous guy who loves to be outside, enjoys sleeping and continues to do all his chores half-assed.
He is this big boy and sometimes I feel so helpless watching him grow up inside and out wanting to squash it all, make it stop or at least slow the hell down. Our big boy is off to sleepaway camp with his middle school this week and I wonder how his younger sister will fare without her big brother that she pretends to detest but I know deep inside adores. Well, I hope down deep she adores.
This people making/raising business is just bizarre but I like it, even if it scares me.
The unseasonable warmth the December my mother died did nothing to shed light on the dark terrible smoldering tar pit I felt like I was boiling in watching my mother die. From the moment she started to decline I could feel she had already left the building, her body, her mind and our relationship. Holding on to what she had always said was the best thing she ever did, I am certain, was too painful to live through along with the pain of dying and severing of every damn thing you have no control over.
I don’t know what that is like and will have to wait until it is my turn but I can imagine that I too will not have enough tools in my mind’s box to go out gracefully, comforting others and singing myself home to wherever it is we belong when we are no longer breathing. I would like to believe that I would be strong, cheerfully resilient and accepting of my fate for the sake of the ones that love me but what I pray for to whomever might be listening is that it is quick and I won’t have to deal with anyone but whatever lies beyond my last breath.
I don’t want to think of my children lost in angry, bitter, sad, confused tears mourning their loss because that would be too much to bear. At that time mothering anymore might be out of the question completely and the journey to take will be singular at the parting of the ways.
The death road is a slow muddy march and no matter how the sun shines, the trees blossom, the wind sweeps, the stars reveal themselves, the moon shines down and the oceans roar the bitter loss is a vacuum impervious to anything good. The clocks stop, your breath comes up short, you feel silly picking out things to wear to the rituals of death, you worry about having enough tissues and your mascara, you hug people and resent the comfort you have to dole out with each embrace and you feel just alone.
The morbid plans you make to put your treasured loved one in the ground, select songs to sing them away, the clothes they will wear for eternity, the jewelery they always wore pried off their cold fingers by strangers who will care for your family with skill and professionalism, the large checks you write, the food you have to provide, the endless thank you’s and condolences is a never-ending fountain of human need that geysers up like blood out of your throat.
When you close your eyes you search for some kind of connection, the kind you took for granted before because the ping of reminders was always a phone call, a drive away. Now, when you wake up at 2am in the morning and think of things that make you feel small and young and incapable, the kind of feelings that mothers make better even when they can do nothing about it, you will feel all alone.
Eventually the shock of grief wears off and you get used to feeling sad and lonely and missing something that would have come to be but you don’t know what that something is because it ended before it finished. It’s like you were a lovely cake taken out of the oven a little too early and placed in the hot sun exposed on the porch and with a little time, your center will become less gooey and will be edible.
There is nothing like a mother.