Well, I just dropped James off at his dayhome for the first time. He woke up from his nap and he fussed and fussed and I swooped him into the car and drove him there. He seemed ok as I closed the door and now I am here all alone in the house – no noise but the heat kicking through the vent. No threat of a waking baby to interrupt me. I could go take a nap. I could take a bath. I could read a book. Go for a run.
Yesterday was not a great day for me. James has been waking up at 5 a.m. for going on a week and I’m just plain tired.
There’s always a bit of a come down from being around many loving adults to help me out with James. That lonely feeling settles back in. I feel inadequate. I work like a madwoman to make him smile and giggle. I have no one to absorb my frustrations when he won’t eat the food I prepared or when he whines, when he takes a short nap or sit down so I can do, well, anything.
At the end of the day, Dan kept saying “you’re so patient, you’re so patient.” But I wasn’t patient. I wanted to crawl into bed and close the door FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.
Motherhood is crazy – the way that simply cannot turn your back on it, not matter how tired or fed up you are.
Then I took him to this stranger’s house today. I cried on the drive home. I cried because I was worried about what he might think when I closed the door and left him – where is she going? Who is this? Is she ever coming back?
I thought about all the times my mom would cry and I’d be like: Mom, really? It’s not a big deal. Because of course I get it now. Nothing’s a big deal, but everything is.
I wasn’t crying because we’re not ready for this. I cried because both of us – me and James – we are ready. We don’t need each other the way we used to. We haven’t for a while.
James is still a baby but he won’t be for long. Soon he’ll be a waddling busy toddler. Then he’ll be talking. And on and on and on.
I cried because time is moving along – as it does and always has. James makes it so much more poignant. I see time move in his face and his body and the way he does something new every day.
Often, it feels like a great opening – the road ahead. That’s how I try to see it on most days. But today – on that drive home – to be whisked ahead at such a pace felt unbearably sad.
I thought about this short story called Getting Closer by Steven Millhauser. It’s about a young boy on a summer day he’s been looking forward to with his family. He’s standing at the edge of the river, about to get in:
“But now, as he stands at the end of waiting, something is wrong. He’s shaken deep down, as though he’ll lose something if the day begins. If he goes into the river he’ll lose the excitement, the feeling that everything matters because he’s getting closer and closer to the moment he’s been waiting for. When you have that feeling, everything’s full of life, every leaf, every pebble. But when you begin you’re using things up. The day starts slipping away behind you. He wants to stay on this side of things, to hold it right here.”
He suddenly sees that the day will end, time will march on and his parents will grow old and so will he and his sister.
I don’t mean to be melodramatic. I know I am still on this side of things. I guess in a way we are always are, if we can look at it from the right angle. But, like the boy, I want to stay. To hold it right here.
But of course I can’t. No one can. We have to get into the river and let the day begin.