carrying it together…
January 10, 2013
“Remember when I nursed for 11 years and woke up one day and just couldn’t anymore?”
“Remember when we co-slept for 12 years and then one morning I decided it was over?”
“Remember when you worked that exhausting manual labor job to keep food on the table and never complained once and I took care of everything at home and worked side jobs for the first decade of our marriage (and complained a lot) and then we were completely exhausted for like 2 years?” I asked him.
“Yeah, I totally remember all that.” he said while folding the 13th load of laundry.
“Yeah, I kinda feel like that about everything right now. Now that I finally have a vision and plan for KindnessGirl after all these years, I mostly want to hang out, make new friends (especially artists) and take pictures of all of that and just love on people in RVA. …oh, and I want to not really take care of the house at all…like ever again.”
“I think you should do it.” he said. …and in the next breath, “Hey, did you just drop these on the floor?!” as he picked up a clean pair of jeans that I had indeed chucked when I decided not to wear them due to a food baby I have been growing.
“Haaaaa, I think I am turning into YOU and you are turning into ME!” …and that is sort of wonderful for both of us.
…because there have been so many days of way too early mornings, 13,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made, late arrivals to preschool with disheveled children, heart shaped watermelon cuts, late nights of toddler acrobatic nursing sessions, taking on two more writing and photography gigs than I should, looking to find $2.43 in my checking account with 3 days away from pay day, waiting for witching hours to be over, dragging babies and small children to the grocery store in footy pajamas, wishing he didn’t have to work 80 hour work weeks and phone calls to sisters to talk you off some parenting ledge, and crying because it feels too big, just too much…and telling yourself that it’s all okay, because it is.
…and for every one of those parts of life that are hard, there are 10 more that are dear and good. …and some days you remind yourself you come from generations of privilege and tell yourself to shut-the-hell-up,
and other days you just cling tightly to those to get you through
and then other days you swim in everything good and feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
You still carry it all, because you are the mom. It’s your job, it’s the call before you and because you want to do it…you chose it…you really do love it.
and yet many days I felt alone…in the weight, in the beauty, in the warrior moments of love.
…but we will always do what love asks of us…and now I am seeing more and more, so will the people we love, the very same people that we have loved into the world.
It was a hard day all around, I was dealing with a bruised ego from some other life lesson. They seem to never end. I couldn’t quite find the words to say, ” I just feel so shitty about myself today guys, it’ll pass, it always does…”.
Instead I was quiet and sullen. I tried to rally with a trip to rock hop but Lyra had a head first meeting with the iron gate and couldn’t quite recover from a swollen eye and so offended such an object would hurt her. She then stepped in a huge hole in a rock and was muddy waist down, this sent her over the edge.
The whole crew decided they didn’t want what I was planning for dinner and begged for something else. I was too tired to hold court and was secretly relieved to get a trip to the grocery store by myself. It’s totally a new experience to finally have a child old enough to stay at home and have moments in the car filled with silence.
“Mom, can I do anything for you?” Josiah asked. I knew he felt me, even without my words because kids in middle school know the pains of bruised egos and life lessons.
“No…I don’t think so.” … because we are programmed to take care of our children, not our children take care of us. …and this is how it should be. But I pulled the ever the strong, I-can-keep-it-together and everything-is-fine matriarch schtick…which I think is probably a load of crap. …for all of us.
I shopped and returned home to find a bathed Lyra, watching a show quietly on the couch with a calm heart. …and Lucy and Josiah sitting at the kitchen table finishing her homework- he helped her do 2 days worth and write a story. More than I could ever accomplish at one sitting.
…and in that moment, like so many other moments both good and bad in life, I was melted. …because this was more than mother and son and family dynamics, it was about being human. He was helping me because he knew I was struggling, he helped because I wasn’t doing such a good job on my own, he was doing it because we are carrying it together.
He knows this, deep in his heart just because of the beauty of who he is, because of the pain of feeling less than at times, and because of our love, our imperfect and big love.
I feel less alone in some ways as I watch them grow into older, bigger people…and the wave of parental solitude will come again…but even then, I know….we are all human, we all know pain, we all love, we are all carrying it together.