One of my bosses past said to me, as I was trying to push for a needed change, “The current state is the desired state”
At the time it blew my mind; how could someone say that? It sounded so smugly self-satisfied. Captain Kirk would not agree, we as humans are supposed to be reaching and exploring. Certainly that had been how I lived my life.
NEVER NEVER satisfied with what was in front of me. When we first met, Chris gave me a quote to impress me “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?” He got it right. That was me. Push for higher achievement, deeper understanding and broader experience. I figured that all I could ever hold on to in this world was myself so I had better be the best I could possibly be. I had to be big enough to beat down whatever came my way.
So this year I had a baby.
Higher, deeper, and broader narrowed to a one-dimensional pixel. The three-dimensionality of my life was POOF. It was all the one thing, and all my largeness had rendered down to nothing. That nothing of a dot that my life had become was bigger than me. If I was all I had, and I had lost myself. I was lost.
So I waited. Perhaps I would solidify again. Time would pass, the mists would clear and I would find me again.
Or maybe it was the universe I was looking for. I read books–of course I read books–on this new universe of babies and parenthood. I called and talked to people. These things kept my faith that the universe and myself in it would align into a recognizable shape.
Every day would bottom out. I would stagger, and then recover to keep going. Every time I recovered I thought “Oh, that’s it. I’m going to be okay now.” And then the next day I would hit bottom again. And it was not okay.
Was this normal? I couldn’t believe that it was normal. Then again, I couldn’t believe that the human race came into being by exiting a woman’s vagina. Belief had nothing to do with it. Perhaps this was the way things were.
I’d been reading a mommy blog and the author talked about her first childbirth and struggle with post-partum depression. She took those blog entries and made a book of it. Well! that’s a book to buy in hardback, not only ’cause it’s about my exact problem but because blogger chicks should have their books bought.
I started it, but it was too much. Prior to reading the book my crying and anxiety needle-pegging took less than 25% of my day, which was real progress. But the book was like a homeopathic medicine that I wasn’t strong enough to take. I needed a little more health before I could get health from her story.
So here’s the thing. Time has passed. Crying and anxiety have been taking less than 1% of my day now for weeks steady. I got from there to okay. So I decided to try to read the book again. It’s a very good book.
But I’m not going to talk about what’s in the book. I’m going to talk about achieving ‘okay’hood. Because the weird thing is I feel more okay than maybe I ever have. My drive is more of an idle now. Higher? Deeper? Broader? I’ll get around to that. Eventually.
I don’t get it. I don’t get it at all. But I feel like I’m still capable of all the things I could do before. But this time I don’t need to rush or stress or push. I can trust that it will happen.
which is so weird
Here’s what I’m picturing: a machine, maybe with pistons, moving and pulling and MAKING THINGS HAPPEN. But that machine is not anchored, and it jolts and rattles around. It can’t do its job very well and in fact it’s damaging itself with trying.
Then this powerful active machine gets locked in place. It’s a very different machine now, not moving around. And it feels so weird. But now it can run smoothly, and with so much less effort do what it was designed to do. Painless.
My daughter takes up all the extra room. NOT, in fact, all the oxygen like I was afraid she might, but all the extra room. Now that I’m getting used to it, maybe that was room I was a lot better without.
went out to do some laundry. i’d just gotten home, and husband was wrung out from childcare.
he asked me to do the laundry ’cause v had peed all over things
so i changed from my work clothes and took the laundry to the garage whereupon
i encountered the LARGEST SCARIEST OF THE SCARY I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING SCARY spider. right by the washer and everything. it was magnificent in it’s horrifaction. i looked at it closer and saw the dreaded red hourglass. i had to get datagraphic evidence
i ran inside to get my videocamera and told chris about it
“I need your help! I’m starving and I have to pee!”
well i knew that feeling. My artistic impulses would have to be put aside to take over the bottle feeding. Chris went to go look. He came back “It’s a black widow. It has to be killed now. Before it gets away.”
He found the Raid and dispatched of the Shelob. Now I only have the memory and no evidence. That always happens!
She is six months old today. Six months later and we have a new normal. And that’s okay. It may be new, but it’s normal again. That’s what counts.
I was very skeptical that this would happen. The first four months were mind-blowing on a minute by minute basis. I talked about it to many friends, and a lot of them would say “I don’t remember…”
don’t remember? DON’T REMEMBER? This is a biggest thing that could ever happen to a human being, how could that slip your mind?
…and yet, I find that I am letting it slip my mind. I can remember the blazing terror of those months. But I don’t have to feel that way right now, and I’d rather repress that memory. So I let it slip. And maybe eventually I won’t remember at all.
I do remember though. I remember thinking I couldn’t swallow the idea of a whole day at a time, and that I could only think in 3 hour chunks. That if I’d had a bad night of very little sleep, I would dread the next nightfall with liquified guts. I’d tell myself that it must be possible to get through this because people had done it from time immemorial and I’d tell myself that same thing again because I did not believe it.
Now I wonder how people manage to have more than one child. I can tell myself, ‘oh NOW I know how to do it, now I know what to expect.’ But I don’t believe it.
Except I do know a little. A very little. Mostly what I know is that it get to normal eventually. More than that, I can’t rely on.
In these six months, my blog has (d)evolved into a mommy blog. I’m not writing about abstract ideas or cute little parables. It’s all about sleeping and eating and growing.
It’s impressive how she tries so hard to do and learn.
She wants to eat her foot:
Feeling really good. I am actually starting to stay up and hang out a little bit after I put the muffin to bed. Last night I stayed up to finish making some soup, and download some photos.
For the past forever, I’ve sprinted through the evening tasks to get my head on my pillow as quickly as possible. But, now I guess I have faith that the night will lead to the next day and the next day will be livable. So I can chill a little bit.
Today, I’m wearing a skirt to work for the first time. Still doesn’t fit right cause I’m fat. But, what with the healthy soups, etc., that is changing.
Things are basically normal. I’m back at work for the third consecutive month since Veronica was born. I’m not dead yet, and neither is she. Days have taken on a familiar shape.
It’s funny how my daughter can fill up all the spaces in my life. I’ve always been good at getting things done in the margins. There were the big things that filled the day, but there was all this white space too. Quite frankly, I have seldom been asked to use full capacity.
But this baby oozes into the spaces. I have to look hard for the spaces to fit the other things into. I’m beginning to find them.
For example, I’m learning to cook super fast while Veronica entertains herself in a bouncy chair. And I keep up with the laundry by never missing an opportunity to chip away at it.
60 seconds? Monuments can be built in that span.
I would not say it’s easy. But I can say it’s possible. And I can believe it would be possible to have more than one. Now I just have to convince Chris.
And if anybody wants recipes for superquick prepare-ahead-for-the-week meals, I got ’em.
We picked the 4th to finally feed Veronica solid food for the first time. Here’s the thing though: the food was not anywhere near solid. The instructions are to mix this hyper-refined rice cereal with enough formula to take all the rice flavor out of it.
I’d never thought that rice had any flavor to begin with.
But other than the mixing instructions (which I decided were wrong anyway) I had no idea how to go about feeding her. Here is what happened:
The face she’s pulling is priceless. I couldn’t see it when I was feeding her. I switched sides and tried again:
She was a pretty good sport about the ordeal, and ate more than an ounce. But when I tried again the next day she was hungrier and got impatient. This spoon mechanism was really an inefficient way of getting fed, in her opinion.
Since the rice gruel really doesn’t taste different from her formula, I can see her point. Next time, I’ll try mixing the rice with juice and see how that goes over.
What a great day this has been! I slept in, my baby took several mini-naps before we were going anywhere. I got laundry dishes AND a few extra things done. Yay.
My muffin loves socializing. She was tired, but she was quiet and cheerful with all the new people who wished to hold and admire her. There were a lot of kids running around, and it was a lot of fun to hang out and visit.
Having a child does seem to narrow my world. And this is a holiday to celebrate independence, right? But pure independence is not possible in this life. I depend on a lot of things. And now, my baby depends entirely on me.
That’s the flip side of independence you know. Not just that I need others than myself, but that I am utterly needed. I have a dependent now. I guess I’ll have to have independence with this little one hanging on.