Years ago I remember talking to a friend I met through the innerweb about why she stopped writing. She said she got tired of having a constant narrative running through her head. Funny, because I think that’s my favorite part. I mean, I don’t know how funny Sprout peeing on the lobby floor of the swim school in front of this proud and breathless schedule-controller would be without it. I know there’s a part of it that’s super self-important of me, but the other part of me knows there’s nothing to do except talk it out and write it down.
It’s hard for me to find the time to put all this inner dialogue somewhere though, now that there’s a sovereign yet entirely dependent little baby-planet orbiting around here writing her own stories.
She thinks it’s fabulous to open drawers and empty bookshelves and I think she’s on to the fact that I don’t. I’m trying to remember that it really is amazing that a blobby former alien-eyed fetus can now say “uck” and slam my hair-brush drawer. However, when she discovered how to lock and un-lock the car like a drunken robot I had to draw the line. She’s not sure what to think of the garbage disposal yet, but she runs away from it like a ding-dong ditcher and then returns deliriously excited to see what I’m doing. The other day I was trying to send an email while she was awake (a rare and risky occurrence) and she brought me a frying pan.
As a mom I think I’m usually somewhere in between: “I listen and watch and let my baby tell me what they’re ready and not ready for” and “What the heck? You’re a b-a-b-y, I’m the boss.” But there there’s also intensely awful moments of exhaustion and weakness when I think “Oh God, please don’t hate me already, just say ‘please’ and you can have a Nutrigrain bar!”
Sprout’s been waking up in the still dark hours of the morning lately just whaling and half the time I bring her into bed with us and the other half I do absolutely nothing except groan and roll over until she falls back to sleep minutes later. I never really feel good either way, but I always lay there wondering if I should start waking her up from her long naps and never enjoy leisurely shopping online mid-day again. Though, I’m semi-convinced that no matter what you do or how old your kids are, motherhood is just destined to leave you in a faint but constant state of exhaustion.
I believe I can do it all: write, stay in shape, get better at surfing and skateboarding, raise a brave and compassionate child with good manners and a varied palette, cook healthy meals, keep the laundry bin from over-flowing, remember and commemorate everyone’s birthday with surprising and thoughtful gifts and cards and wake-up without bags under my eyes. If there’s no belief, there’s no chance, or something like that, right? But yesterday I accidentally had melatonin gummies for breakfast, didn’t respond to any emails and spent Sprout’s afternoon nap painting a $7 chair a deep, moody blue. I also re-arranged the living room, getting rid of a comfortable chair that everyone I told said they’d miss. Maybe the only thing to say is that in the end you’ll do it all, but in the moment you just have to do what you can.
Fall is almost here and it makes me nervous and excited like when a friend says they’re coming over. I can’t wait for Sprout to really experience it this year. I can’t wait to experience it as a family who isn’t dealing with a current cancer diagnosis, although a part of me feels like that’s a cloud that will never leave. But I clean and re-arrange and surf and buy tiny knee-high socks with foxes on them and garden and cook and celebrate family and friends and write down the stories from it all when I can.
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