It’s been a rough few days (weeks?). I wish there was a good reason why – that might make it better, or understandable anyway – but there’s not. I’m just miserable for no good reason. Irritable because I have angst. Angst-ridden because I have hormones and a crippling sense of self-awareness? (Thank you, Virgo)
There have been days I have camped out with my laptop for hours. Stared out the window waiting for the light to change. Held myself because it was the only thing to do.
And then the strains of PBS children’s programming came to me.
The minutes and hours marked by Arthur and Thomas, Maya and Miguel rather than numbers.
And I knew I should move. I knew I should engage. I should scoop up that little wonder of a child and take her out into the world.
One day, we did. We traipsed around the yard, trekked to the mailbox, tried to imagine the garden in full bloom. But the mailbox was empty and spring was still a ways off.
Yesterday, we shut off all electronic devices and ate lunch together. We sat side by side, but I buried my nose in some manner of printed matter.
Today, we compared notes on the types of yogurt we ate; she turning her nose up at my Greek with honey, me trying to convince her she ate blue banana. green guava. purple passion.
The silly word games I remember playing with my first baby when I was a first time mama.
Learning colors through the culinary.
Exploring math while masticating.
And for the first time in a long time, my sense memory elicited a positive response. Bubbles of laughter reminding me that I know how to do this. I know how to make it fun. I know how to enjoy it.
All it takes to make it enjoyable is a little more effort. An invitation to join me as I move about my day. A question here, a comment there. Inclusion. When all I’ve been is insular.
I’ve so needed space for me, I’ve been pulling back. But all I’ve done is created a vacuum, a void they notice and try all the more vehemently to cross. Perhaps if I reach across the void, giving them what they need, I will get what I want.
Joy and peace of mind.
Being able to lay my head on the pillow at night knowing I’ve done my best and not feeling guilty at the time I set aside for myself.
There’s no sense doing a job you hate. And there’s no reason to make mothering more onerous than it is. That wouldn’t just create a vacuum; that would suck.