i don’t want to live that way

i was standing at the counter, washing dishes, when a song i loved came on. immediately the volume dial was spun; words, music, amplified.

my big boy, maturing and becoming himself faster then i am even aware of, i’m sure, was fast in the kitchen with me, defining the moment with his running commentary: “momma! you LOVE this song. this song makes you happy!”.

he was gone as fast as he came, his body writhing along, feeling the tunes, relieved, it seemed, that i was having a feel-good moment.

i kept at my chore, legs dancing, hands elbow deep in dishes that i had been too tired to deal with the night before. he was right, the song did make me happy and the louder, the better.

my gaze found forward, towards the window- the view expansive, bright; my chest constricted, heavy.

——

my son was sat in a bar- dark, musty, furnished with heavy wood- and was facing forward, watching the game. his shoulders were broad, muscular; his neck, craned forward over his beer. i was alarmed, he looked so much like my brother from the back- tall, strong, beautifully toned, stern faced. next to him was someone i didn’t know, someone he too was not overly familiar with, given the small talk, the getting to know you exchanges. perhaps a college acquaintance, or a teammate.

“so, your mom’s coming to visit, huh?” he said, inviting my son to engage. “what’s she like?”.

my son winced, right cheek to right eye, took a drink from his beer, and subtly shook his head- chin shifting minimally to the left. “my mom’s a bit much, ” he offered- no eye contact, no details.

“yah?”, probed his buddy, light hearted, busy in his body, looking for some energy out of my kid, now grown up.

“yah,” my son affirmed, tentatively. “she’s a weird one- you never know what mood she’ll be in”.

——

the song was over, my day dream over, radio ads now filling the space at a too loud volume. the noise hurt. i reached over the island to return the volume to an acceptable level, my shirt becoming damp from the counter’s edge, and saw my precious children. a big smile came back across my face.

“hey, mom!” my eldest greeted, poking his head up so he could see me from my reached over stance. he had a balloon in one hand and a mish-mash of play kitchen food in another. “it’s your birthday, mom! keep smiling! it’s chocolate, it’s your favorite”.

——

that’s when i knew: i hadn’t gotten out unscathed.

for me, last time, it was an anxiety, a worry, a rigidness, a panic. for me, last time, it was ruminative doubt, it was fixed ideas and plans, it was near obsessive. for me, last time, it was guilt, worst case scenario thinking, generalized sadness, pervasive stress and a creeping desperation to be free yet a paralyzing fear disallowing separation. for me, last time, i didn’t know what it was until it was gone. for me last time, it was my first time, and insight came too late.

for me, this time, it’s a pressure on my cheeks, a low grade head ache behind my eyes, an irritability that rests just below the surface, a short temperedness that ignites when itched. it’s a fatigue that’s increasing, despite sleep habits improving. it’s a uncharacteristic sourness, a powerful one, that tries to taint my rational appreciation and my authentic (deep down) happiness. it’s a threat to my genuine love and delight in my children, in my life.

for me, this time, it’s not compromised thought content, behaviour, or living style. it’s all affect. it’s a bluntedness, a flatness. it’s all heavy heart and effort, it’s all forced enjoyment. it’s all fighting against the beast version of the mom i could be, if i let my impulse win; my impulse that is not in line with who i truly am; normally am.

for me, this time, i know.

i know that now, after the regular hormone shock attacks have largely ceased, the typical jolts and bolts of post-partum change, that this is different, that this is more- a monster of it’s own.

for me, this time, long since i have successfully recovered and healed from a challenging pregnancy, labour and birth, long after i’ve adjusted to our family of four and care of two, months after mastering our daily life, that this discord is purely internal.

for me, this time, i can’t pretend that this is normal and i know that this is not healthy, both for me and for them.

for me, this time, i’m taking charge- for all of us, and our life. our full, complete, and love swollen life.

my son(s) will remember me and this time fondly. i will too.

——

my son was sat in a bar- dark, musty, furnished with heavy wood- and was facing forward, watching the game. his shoulders were broad, muscular; his neck, craned forward over his beer. i was alarmed, he looked so much like my brother from the back- tall, strong, beautifully toned, charismatic. next to him was someone i didn’t know, someone he too was not overly familiar with, given the small talk, the getting to know you exchanges. perhaps a college acquaintance, or a teammate.

“so, your mom’s coming to visit, huh?” he said, inviting my son to engage. “what’s she like?”.

my son looked down at his beer, smiled, and subtly shook his head- chin shifting minimally to the left. “my mom’s a bit much, ” he offered, chuckling.

“yah?”, probed his buddy, light hearted, busy in his body, looking for some more details out of my kid, now grown up.

“yah,” my son affirmed, jovially. “she’s a weird one- she’s full of crazy, but in a good way”, now laughing in full. “i can’t wait to see her”.

Advertisements

6 Comments to “i don’t want to live that way”

  1. I feel I barely BARELY survived the early years and now my hormones are slapping me again with hitting 43…no breaks, no respite, no chance to figure out what normal IS. My poor poor family.

  2. Thank you for your honest reflections and your willingness to share them. (I need to be on the lookout this time, too.)

  3. “a creeping desperation to be free yet a paralyzing fear disallowing separation” That describes the feeling perfectly. I know it well. Thank you for writing this.

  4. This was really lovely- made me get misty eyed- you are so brave and honest- thank you for sharing!

  5. Thank you, thank you. Particularly for the insights about time passing between birth and the feelings starting. Four years of struggle for me, and when they come up I know how to deal now. They are still the same. But I know you could be describing my son at the end!

  6. You made me cry again. Also, it doesnt take two to get to that point… I think the hard part is realizing that this, all of this, is forever and always, no pauses, no breaks, in our hearts at least. That makes me cranky sometimes as the weight of the loss of myself before is felt all over again. Not that I want her back! It just is. Thanks so much for these Heather!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: