I dunno why but my memory is a real dickwad. It always picks the angriest/mopiest tracks to play on my Greatest Hits album, which is what plays on repeat in my brain when my insomnia peaks at 3am.
For example. When I think back to those first few months after my son was born, I get mostly horrifying visions: a closet-sized Brooklyn apartment filled with shitty expensive infant equipment I will only ever use once; a tiny human who I have to try to keep alive except he’s TOO SMALL and I HAVE ZERO EXPERIENCE and THERE IS NO OWNER’S MANUAL and how the fuck did they let me out of the hospital with a BABY and etc.; the dread in my husband’s eyes at 9pm as we coordinate our iPhone alarms for the staggered night feedings; tiny mushy cold unidentifiable bits of things (food? poo? other?) in the most startling places (fingernails, eyelashes, various body cracks, the floor/wall/ceiling); trying to calculate how to carry a stroller, an infant, multiple shopping bags, and the mail up two narrow flights of stairs once a day while covered in wet snow; and etc.
Like I could go on forever. Those images are pristine.
The others, the joyful moments, are fuzzier.
Does fear encode more strongly than joy?
Is that what gives us our life force?
When we work harder to amplify our softer moments, do we value them more?
Is a dickwad memory something that can be fixed?
At any rate.
Thank god I have these janky basement tapes from my kid’s early days to remind myself that sometimes I’m more than just a sonic boom of pure terror. 😬
(Originally published on September 27th, 2008 at 11:12am.)
Current luxuries include: Sleeping. Cooking. Bathing properly and regularly. Seeing plays. [Note: I’m sorry if I am about to miss your show or have already missed it. I still love you very much and support you fully.] Laundry. Writing.
I am doing all these things, but doing them badly. Though I never really did them all that well before… I am a restless sleeper, a boring cook, a reluctant bather, and a grumpy audience member. I rarely do my own laundry, and my writing– well, I’m never happy with my pace and I have putrid work habits.
What else do you want to know? How my near-paralyzing fear of motherhood is playing out? Okay… while nothing could have adequately prepared me for the transition, like any other monumental life change you just go with it and it comes to you. But I don’t need to tell you that.
What DO I need to tell you? How blindingly in love with my baby I am? Do you really need to hear that? Isn’t it a given? Shouldn’t I just complain incessantly about how tired I am, how little time I have for writing, how I am constantly covered in breast milk, how I am terrified of dropping/scalding/humiliating the tiny new human who lives in the Pack-n-Play at the foot of our bed?
Well, these are of course true. And of course I am a member of that lucky breed of Perpetually Dissatisfied whose heart-ache is like a skin rash that never quite vanishes, even when the itching isn’t so bad.
But I have to tell you… I was also not prepared for the pretty calm that has settled into my pulse. Lying in bed in the morning with the wee one curled up on my chest drooling onto my T-shirt feels like nothing else in the world, except maybe a slow long kiss on the forehead from someone most deeply loved.
So yeah, that’s how it’s going. I am floating on a bamboo raft on an ocean of chill. It won’t last. But I’m going to close my eyes and enjoy it for a little while…