Weed pulling is hard work. And my hands are dirty and my nails short and my back sore.
I feel guilty for wanting more, for wanting different. Because the small person who runs around my house is also my favorite. He is sticky and he is loud and he is funny. His eyes smile bright and his snuggles sink deep. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around his love for me. He doesn't show it often. He loves many -- favors many, reaches for many. My heart hurts that he often doesn't prefer me. But when it is just he and I, together at home, he runs down the hall after me. He throws back the shower curtain. He rests with his hand on my knee.
I don't want him to get big, but in the same breath, I cannot wait for the day when I can answer his questions. When I explain things, and he understands. When I get to hear his thoughts and his laughter, because he understood what was said. When I can teach him things and buy him movie theater popcorn and show him real lions.
But I am tired. From all the weed pulling and from the load carrying. And I sit here now, welling, as Liv would say. Because I'm just doing such a poor job at it all.
I am irritable and I am tired and I am impatient. My hair is a mess. My car is a mess. My apartment is a mess. My eyelashes are falling out. Judah went to daycare sticky this morning because on the way out the door he stuck his hand in my cereal bowl, dumping milk and soggy cereal on the floor. And I forgot to wash his hands off, because I had to mop up the milk on the floor.
We will go see the funny doctor this afternoon, because Judah's nose is running and he's not sleepy. But I bet the funny doctor tells me "welcome to parenthood". I have a toddler now. All by myself. And I just have this feeling my will won't match his.
We've experienced so much loss. Life, daily, often feels like a precarious balancing act. Teetering. I am not as brave as my boy, who falls and claps for himself. He knows no failure or embarrassment. Just picks himself back up and tries again. I sit on the floor longer. Mope longer. I wallow longer, bemoaning anyone saw me fall and getting up and all that is so much work. He's braver than I am and I hope, with everything I have, he holds onto the bravery.
I watched him last night in Noni's sink. He's almost too big to get bathed this way, but his feet were dirty and we knew he'd fall asleep in the car. So we stripped him down and into the sink he went. Lathered and soapy and I watched him as he grabbed for the water coming out of the faucet. He could feel it, but couldn't hold it.
I feel like that today.
I just can't get a hold of it. Of the thoughts I know will lead to some congruency. Maybe even to a harvest. Thoughts that will lead to a place of hope I haven't visited in a long time.
Everyone wants to reassure us. Women, mostly. Of how beautiful we are and how lucky any man would be to call us home. Of how young I am and how I have all the time in the world...
Tears well again, mostly because I don't believe it. Not because I'm stubborn, but just because it's not true. I am not young, I have never been young. I do not live a young life or have a young mind. I am not beautiful, I am just surviving. Honestly. But I know it's hard to be alone, whatever your circumstances. I know it's hard to be married. I know it's hard to be barren, and I have my small person, which so many would die to be able to call their own. I know. I know that's what people are trying to say, when they say don't worry. That I'm not alone, others have it worse, to stop complaining. All while looking at me and my little, brown boy and seeing just what I'm talking about.
For this reason, I stopped believing in miracles a long time ago. I picked up my shovel and started doing work for us, on our own. And stopped looking for dots to connect and stopped asking for blessings. Because of all the quietness. Because you can only ask for something for so long, before you're weary of it.
Before you feel like it falls on deaf ears.
And you can only hope for something for so long before it hurts too much to keep on.
Regardless, I'm trying to make it work. With that shovel and this gumption and with a lot of coffee. So much of crouching and pushing and barreling through the hurt and the mess: leave my family alone, I feel like I say most days. Back up. We've been through too much already, all I want is...
But the tiredness drains the joy. Who am I, though, without the joy?
The struggle is, also, who am I if I am not a good mama? So the other gets sacrificed, because it was never promised anyway. And I take a deep breath and grapple. Trying to grab the water flowing from the faucet, and have a good attitude because I know it will help.
I try to make good food and go to the park so he can swing and make myself stay awake until it's dark out. All in an attempts to find some normalcy. To defeat, and say we made a good life despite it all, we built a tiny, strong family.
Because he's my favorite. He's my priority. Someone would have to come in and love us both, unconditionally, without a second thought... anyway.
So how do you make a family and save yourself from the splintered pieces?
Close your mouth and keep the well-intentioned friends from criticizing, making it worse. Save them the irritation. Buy a plain house just big enough and hope this is where the harvest is. Hope this, now, all this cloudiness and heaviness is the rain that makes the seeds grow.
Keep brushing your hair and washing your face and practice smiling... and understand life never works out like we thought it would anyway. So you shouldn't be surprised.
And hold the back of his curly head and whisper in his ear, the way we do. I love you, I love you, I love you. Feel the leaning in he does, until he knows it's true.
Deep breath, and muster the courage to make it beautiful yourself.
I was hoping the story would be told differently, though.