Today my brain is jamming with full-stop error messages. 404: error. Page not found. Please try again later.
I read the news and try to think about theology and Caitlyn Jenner and the Duggars and our move to Lexington and Greece’s financial free fall and the new SIDS hypothesis but it isn’t long before my thoughts come up short. Nothing to see here. Just a big empty room with this song echoing off white walls:
We’re having one of those one step forward, two steps back kind of weeks and everything is taking forever as we lurch along. Summer has arrived. So there’s that. I did finally cut up the melon I bought on Saturday and I think I finally moved the last load of laundry to the dryer (after two re-washes to deal with the day-old-forgotten-in-the-washer smell), but those small victories are my only proof this week that I’m not totally useless at this job.
I could really use some objective feedback or a progress report, some kind of monthly review of my performance. “Well, you’re making dinner upwards of 4 times a week. Compared to this time last quarter when we were eating the same pot of chili for a week solid, that’s a huge improvement! However, we have noticed that you’ve stopped getting fully dressed now that the weather is warming. We would like to remind you that a nursing tank and leggings is still a dress-shy of an actual outfit. If you need any inspiration in that department there are about 4 million mormon mommy bloggers who always look put together. Maybe you can learn something from them? Otherwise, keep up the good work! We’d like to honor your dedication by taking an afternoon off of our usual scream and dance routine. You deserve it.”
Today I pondered my former belief in personal space while sprawled on the couch with two kids climbing all over me, small fingers pointing out my eyes and ears and squishy belly button. “Eye.” Evelyn says, pointing to her ear. “That’s your ear,” I say. “This is your eye and this is mama’s eye. This is your ear and mama’s ear.” “Eye.” She says. This time she’s pointing at the ceiling and I wonder if maybe she thinks I’m the one in need of a sight word education. We stare at each other and she waves a slow hand inches from my face. A long string of drool hangs down almost to her knees before it breaks and lands on my thigh. Motherhood is so glamorous.
The kids are extra clingy lately. Leech-level clingy. We had to get the house clean tonight for a showing scheduled for smack in the middle of bedtime routines which meant Drew had to leave work early so we could trade off cleaning and baby barricading. In the end it all came together and we drove around with cranky and adorable pajama-wearing little people for an hour while prospective buyers spent probably 2 and half minutes in our apartment. PLEASE will someone buy this place so we can stop cleaning it? That would be really really great.
By the time we got home, put the kids to bed and fed ourselves it was only 7:30 and the house was clean and I had nothing to do but work on cultivating some hobbies. I tried to settle into Ann Patchett’s The Story of a Happy Marriage but after reading her lengthy bio intro I just felt all the more inadequate, a silly little blog-keeper who can’t muster the creativity even for this inconsequential sphere. I’ve got three crummy drafts in the works and nothing helpful to add to any of them. Writers block. 404. Flutter flutter flutter flutter. (^watch the video. just DO it.)
What was I saying? Hobbies. You would think that a clean house and a wide open evening would be the perfect backdrop for some creative genius but mine is locked away in a cage somewhere being entertained by casper and his babypants. It’s somewhat astonishing how this gig can rob me of my own inner dialogue. Some primal part of my brain, sensing extraneous usage on things unrelated to toddler care or my most basic needs sounds the alarm and sends in the furiously catchy childrens songs to distract me. Keep moving mama. Nothing to think about here. Save those precious pathways for the next round of “why is Evelyn screaming?” (because she can.)
Oh man. I’m sorry moms. I’m sorry I judged you back when I had full control over my brain function. I’m sorry I was so merciless in my critique of who you became after you made a human. I was too well-slept. I was too well-fed. I was exercising. I went out for brunch. I was clueless. I was a fool. A thoughtful, dynamic, engaging fool.
But I miss her. I miss her passion and love for late night conversations that pressed into the deepest parts of friendship. I miss her energy and curiosity and hope and kindness and patience. She might be my better half, even for all her naiveté.
Does it get better? Will we turn a corner in the next few years and stumble upon that other half of my consciousness, bright eyed and brimming with thoughts and feelings about the world and her home and family?
I hope so.
But for now the babies are calling and it’s time to drag this glassey-eyed mama to bed.
I’ve been in bed this whole time. )