I spent the day napping, reading, and napping, intermittently playing cars or choo choo train with Eliot, when he periodically got fed up with watching tv or playing on his own.
I took him out for our evening stroller ride, but halfway through it began to rain on us, so we cut it short and went home.
We did do some dancing to a Melissa Etheridge CD in my bedroom. Eliot was messing with the CD player, demanding "mooik," so I turned it on and we danced crazily all over the place. That was easily the highlight of the day.
Otherwise, the day was long and sad.
I've been going to bed at 8:30 many a night lately, only to lie there awake for hours, doze, and wake up and lie there awake some more. I read books to pass the time, but I couldn't tell you the plot of any one of them I've gone through.
I make trips to Walmart to give myself some small sense of purpose. I need...matches...yeah, matches. I take time getting ready, getting Eliot ready, perusing the store much longer than necessary, taking the long route home to arrive finally in the same place with my matches. But I don't feel like lighting a candle. So I don't. I put the matches in a drawer. Tomorrow I might need sandwich bags.
I keep my phone constantly in my pocket, in case someone calls or texts. I don't really want to talk to whomever it is, but then, his or her voice might break up the day. Make more minutes pass until I can put Mog to bed and slink between the covers myself.
I spend the whole day waiting. For what, I don't know.
I noticed today that the peonies have just about exhausted themselves already, and that makes me sad. The summer is moving too quickly, and too slowly.
It passes me by. I am standing still, immoveable.
MAKE IT WORK.
It's been over a month.
The shower leaks.
It doesn't drain properly.
And now there is no water pressure.
The two times you've "fixed" the shower have only made these issues worse.
The three times I've complained have done nothing but made me feel like a whiny hag.
So please, for the love of everything holy, and the state of my bodily cleanliness (which, as we know, is next to godliness), JUST MAKE IT WORK.
I don't care how you do it.
MAKE MY FUCKING SHOWER WORK. NOW. YESTERDAY.
Rachel, in 1841.
I have had a hard time lately deciding when and where and whether or not to be appropriate. I mean, I know HOW to be appropriate. I understand that there is a time and place for certain behavior and that decorum dictates that one conduct herself in a certain manner. After all, one of my mother's favorite maxims throughout my childhood was the ever popular "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." But I find myself lately getting angry at these unspoken rules of social interaction. Why can't I just say what I think and do what I feel? Why do I have to act all nice nice when I don't feel it? And what's even more infuriating is that I KNOW the answers to these questions. I know that to ignore the rules is to devolve into chaos, to choose selfishness over the common good, to step on toes and hurt feelings. All that I don't want to do.
And yet there are also times when I feel the nicey-nice code that we all (well, most of us) adhere to only serves as a barrier, preventing us all from being real. Why can't we all just stop the charade for a moment and be real with one another? When a casual acquaintance asks in passing, "How are you?" why must I say "Fine."? Why can't I say, "Wonderful. I am so full of joy that I feel it flowing out through every single strand of my hair!" Or "Uck. I drank too much whiskey last night and now I'm feeling churny." Nope. Impossible. One must reply within those very narrow boundaries that only really allow for "Fine." Or "Good, and you?" Or, possibly, if one doesn't mind a reputation for oddity and regional quirkiness (and clearly I don't), she might answer, "Peachy keen" or "Fair to midlin'." But we mustn't make any mention of joy so thorough that it becomes a bodily response, or true sorrow, or gratitude, or any human emotion, really. In fact, the inquiry itself ("How are you?") is not really an inquiry at all, but merely a gesture, a nod, and proof, perhaps, of a shared commitment to maintenance of the status quo.
I hate it. I hate "fine." I want to live, not to maintain. I want every person I pass on the street to look at me and acknowledge that life is grand, even when it isn't. Especially when it isn't.
I don't want to leave this world with anything untouched, anything unsaid. So please know that when I say "I love you," what I really mean is this:
"Every time I think of you, I long to touch your skin. I love your name in my mouth and the smell of your hair. I imagine conversations in which we speak only with our eyes, but we understand one another perfectly. You make a moment feel like a lifetime, and a lifetime move so quickly. I hope that you feel the same. I hope that when I speak you hear poetry rather than madness. But if you do not, and if I never touch you, say your name…even if none of these things comes to pass, please know that it is enough for me just to be alive in the world with you."
I don't care whether loving you is appropriate. I'll do it anyway. I'll go on doing it. And I will be anything save fine.
The truth is, life is good. Despite everything, or because of everything, life is really quite good.
And so I've compiled a short list of things that make me happy RIGHT NOW, this very moment.
A: This picture. And not because of me and my niece, though we are obviously both adorable. No, this picture makes me happy because I've inadvertently captured my oldest nephew in the background, in all of his perfectly orchestrated teenage poise. Ha! (God, I how I loved being 16. Lie! That is a lie! I did not.)
B: This plate of food, which I had the pleasure of devouring last Saturday, while on a shopping trip with dear Momma and the lovely Libby. Yes, I take pictures of my food. Why? Because it makes me happy. So suck it.
C: USING ALL CAPS IN ORDER TO YELL AT YOU! Mwwwaaahahahahahaha.
D: Papa John's ham and pineapple pizza.
E: This mess:
F: That Mog has been nuk-free for an entire week with little to no fuss. Big boy! (but I might just miss soulful looks like this one:
G: I'm wearing a skirt that Cake gave me and I look super-cute today! It's true: just ask my dad. He witnessed the cuteness; I had lunch with him today. :)
H: I had lunch with my dad today!
It just occurred to me that Sunday is Mother's Day. I mean, I knew that, but when I think of Mother's Day, I think of MY mother and it didn't really hit me until today that Sunday is now officially my day too. And I'm all, "Waaa-haa, I'm a mother whose mog is with his daddy this weekend and not with her." It is absolutely excruciating to hand him off to Eli and know that I won't be the one to tuck him into bed tonight or tomorrow night. Won't sing "Daisy, Daisy" to him, and won't hear him whisper "Night, night, Momma" as he closes his eyes. Won't hear him lying in his crib talking to Monkey Bob for half an hour before he actually falls asleep.
I haven't posted pictures here for awhile, so to compound the sadness, let's all just take a look at the one I'm missing. (Well, truth be told, I'm missing the BIG one as well, but that's a whole other story.)
Giving the Backyardigans his careful consideration.
Kicking back in approval of the Backyardigans.
Giving a stick his careful consideration.
Throwing stick, after careful consideration. (He's a very deliberate two-yr-old, that one.)
And if you want to read a few happier, wittier blogs, full of much more professional and lovely photos, full of stories about hard times and new babies and families coming TOGETHER rather than being torn asunder, then go here: Pacing the Panic Room
or here: Dooce
or even here (if you want to see some scrapbooking goodness to boot): Ali Edwards
But for god's sake, stay away from me.
For me, it was a peanut butter cookie with melted chocolate chip topping and a Michelob Ultra.
I had a scary moment eating the cookie where I choked and had to gasp for breath. The only thing I could think was that it would be days before anyone found my body and I haven't listed any emergency contact with my landlord yet, so whom would they even know to call? It was a moment almost identical in frantic-ness (yeah, it's not a word--who cares?) to Miranda's moment on that Sex & the City episode where she chokes on Chinese takeout and worries that no one will find her until the neighbors note the smell coming from her apartment and the police open her door to find her cat eating her face. Except I had this terrible picture in my mind of Mog curled up next to my body on the kitchen floor, keening like a lost puppy. Yeah, right. Who am I kidding? He'd totally be still in front of the tv, watching the Backyardigans, almost perfectly content, except for intermittently yelling "I want cheese!" and getting more and more ticked off when no one delivered it directly into his grubby little paws.
Speaking of Mog (What a lousy excuse for a transition--you'll have to excuse me; the lack of blogging is obviously affecting my mad skillz.), he is speaking in sentences more and more often, and putting together longer and more complex sentences. Today in the library, he told me, "I wanna go upstairs, say hi to Cake." I looked at him, stunned, like "Holy shit--you are such a real PERSON! When did that happen?" (Cake, by the way, is my [our] savior. After all, who doesn't love Cake?)
Other stunning and amazing sentences from my incredible, wonderful, super-intelligent son include the following:
"Ah man, Elmo, I wanted that bite!" (When Elmo apparently ate the last bite of his chicken McNugget. You've gotta watch those stuffed Sesame Street characters--they're sneaky.)
"What you wanna do, Bob, what you wanna do? You wanna play, Bob? Hey, Bob, you wanna play choo-choo?" (When he was lying down with Bob the stuffed monkey and they were BOTH supposed to be sleeping.)
I can totally see myself morphing into THAT mom, that divorced single mom who smothers her son with all of the love and attention that would otherwise have been split between him and her husband. Don't worry, though: I'm starting to set aside extra money in his college fund to pay for his therapy. And possibly for the personal trainer he'll need to help him get back into shape after all these hot dogs.