need a map from here to okay

Laying down to sleep last night with Chris (finally!) I was talking about all the things that had happened.

“…and you heard; she’s learned how to shriek.”

He raised his eyebrows and nodded. I laughed.

“Chris, everyone says to me ‘enjoy this time!’ But I am not enjoying it; I’m so scared and serious. I don’t know how to enjoy her.”

“People who say that don’t remember what it’s like. They can take her, play with her and then give her back.”

So now Chris is back. The big hurdle of his Germany trip is over. I’ve been back at work, and most of the return-to-work hurdles are known. The end of May is next week. That’s another hurdle crossed: May.

She’s 4 months old now. One third of her first year is accomplished.  I just have to get through her first year.

Except I don’t. I mean, I have to get through much more than her first year. But that is too big to think about, when I am staggering under the weight of one hour.

One third of the way through her first year—I just want to get through her first year.

But naturally because I have to do everything the hard way, I am thinking about how I need/want to have number 2. And how I may not want it because I CAN’T even think about how that would work.

Kate (of Jon&Kate plus 8) talked about how one day they decided to feed their newborn sextuplets by themselves one night. How one day, they called everyone and said “We’re going to do it alone.” Then, she said, evertime she thought she couldn’t do it she would remember, “We did it yesterday, we can do it again.” And then again. And then again, until it was just what they did.

I remember thinking “How can I possibly go back to work? I HAVE to go back to work, but I can’t do this and do the things that it takes to get to work.” But time passed, she got older, I got stronger, and here I am at work and it is better than fine.

So right now I think there is no way that I could possibly go through pregnancy and newborn babyhood again. And I also think there is no way I could not be terribly disappointed in myself if I don’t.

But maybe time will pass and I will get stronger and then suddenly what was unthinkable will be possible. I just have to believe.

Arrgh. Faith is all fine and good when it isn’t about something so damn important. Sure, God created the world out of a formless void. Whatever. But that I will get from here to being okay without hyper-detailed instructions?

But maybe I do have the instructions, even if I don’t like them very much. To misquote Sleepless in Seattle:

Well, I’m gonna get out of bed every morning… breath in and out all day long. Then, after a while I won’t have to freak out about getting myself out of bed every morning and breathing in and out… and, then after a while, I will realize how I have it great and perfect….

It’s so different, being a mother. Another plane of existence. There aren’t roadmaps, because my daughter is something new in the world. And so am I, although I’m not as new as I used to be. And Chris is something new too.

This new family that we are now is unmapped.  And so much of it is on my shoulders. Whoa. It makes me think of the Watchmen. Dr. Manhattan, who had to reassemble himself after being atomized in the lab experiment.  I feel atomized. And every second that passes is spent trying to pull myself back into existence by force of will.

I do believe that I will emerging…have emerged from this as a better, stronger person. But it is not a pleasant experience being atomized.

I want to learn to scream into the thrill ride. Throw my arms up on the roller-coaster loop-de-loop. That’s my style.

Or at least it used to be. I suppose it’s not that V needs to be a year old and everything will be different. It’s that the atomized me needs to be a year old and everything will be different.

So that map I want? It is just a calendar. Oh geez.