I remember the tears I cried after my first son was born.
My kid hated me. I was a twenty-one year old mother. I was the approximate size and shape of a human fire hydrant or an overgrown Oompa Loompa. My friends had, thanks to aforementioned son’s screams, all but run for the hills. I barely slept. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing – only that this wasn’t supposed to be the way of things. I had no goals. No ambitions. I barely recognized myself in the mirror.
They were bitter – these tears – because I’d spent my entire life knowing where I was going and what I was doing. There was never the slightest hint of hesitation in my step.
Finding myself lost, questioning my every decision, wondering what I was doing wrong (because clearly the problem was with me), well, these were new for me.
My life confused me.
Luckily, with a few suggestions from an old friend, I was able to figure out the What Next and Move Ahead with my life. My son was autistic – I wasn’t a rancid mother. I had to scrap medical school for nursing school. School allowed me to succeed and feel pride in myself again. Slowly, those baby pounds melted off as my son found his voice.
Once again, I was back. My steps were confident and certain, my life on a new track.
It took a lot more this time, to bring back that useless girl. Migraines. Antenatal depression. Encephaloceles. Postpartum depression. Financial instability. Workaholism. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Uncertainty. Anxiety. That purposeless feeling pervaded.
Certainly, during the day, I was fine – I had my blog, I had my Pranksters, I had three wicked cool kids, I had new friends who didn’t mind babies screaming. I had purpose then.
But at night, when the rest of the house was either sleeping or working, those feelings crept back in. Slowly at first. Soon, I spent my nights weeping the kind of soul-shaking cry that only comes with utter heartbreak. I suppose, looking back, I was heartbroken.
I had it all – everything I had worked for, and it simply wasn’t enough. The strings it came with had turned into a noose.
Everyone else seemed to be fine – flourishing even – so the problem, well, the problem was clearly my own. *I* was the problem. Broken beyond repair. Useless. My steps once again a shuffle.
I cannot tell you, Pranksters, how long I felt this way – convinced I was, indeed, broken. Months? Years? I’m not entirely sure.
I cannot tell you either, Pranksters, when that feeling dissipated. Because it has. I don’t know what happened. I don’t know when that empty space was filled for the first time in my life. My footfalls now echo with confidence and occasionally stupidity. My future is not a question of “if?” but a question of “when?”
I can see now that I was never useless. Never less than. Never without.
And never, ever, ever – not even for a moment – broken.
I’ve never been one for family beds.
Before you fire off angry hate mail, let me remind you that I said “I” wasn’t one for them. You can sleep as a family all you want. I just happen to value my sleep and when I have an errant toddler kicking my kidneys, oddly enough, I can’t sleep. And shit knows, I’ve had ENOUGH problems sleeping, I don’t need kidney punches to compound them.
So I’ve done everything I can to make sure that my kids never ended up in bed with me.
Amelia seems to have caught my mysterious Oregon Trail disease – or she’s teething – and has decided that sleep is bullshit. No. Sleep is FUCKING bullshit.
Which makes me sad in the pants. Because of all the things I love in the world, sleep is at the top of my list, right alongside cheeseburgers, dating television husbands and celebrity gossip magazines. I simply cannot understand how anyone who shares my genetics could be opposed to sleep.
You’d think after Alex I might’ve learned, but no.
So every night, right around midnight, she wakes up tearful and exhausted. Rather than just rolling over and going back to sleep, our conversations go like this:
Aunt Becky: “Are you hurting, baby pants?”
Aunt Becky: “Do you need another binkie?”
Aunt Becky: “Do you need a blankie?”
Aunt Becky: “A million dollars?”
Aunt Becky: “A pony?”
Aunt Becky: “Okay, what gives?”
Aunt Becky: “Girl pants, you ARE in bed.”
Mimi: “MOMMY’S BED.”
Aunt Becky: “Mimi, no.”
Mimi (begins to scream): “MOOOOOOOOOMMMMY’S BED.”
Aunt Becky (fearful the other two will wake up): “Okay, okay.”
And off I go, toddler in arms, to go rest in my bed. And by “rest,” I mean, “get kicked in the vagina” or “get kicked in the face” until she decides that her bed is less bullshit than mine. At which point, I scoop her up and plop her into her own bed.
I wish someone would give ME a pony when I couldn’t sleep. I’d have a pony FARM by now.
How do you guys handle family bed? Do you do it? Can Mimi join you?
I wrote this post about the first thing I thought when I held my son for the first time for ABC’s Million Mom Challenge. It’s worth a read. Even my son liked it!
Also: GULP. I cannot believe I actually wrote something my kid would read!
It started last week. Or the week before. Or sometime last year. I don’t know. Time isn’t my strong suit.
Alex, the four-year old, had a double ear infection. This on top of being poked in the eye with a piece of cable from my daughter made for one Unhappy Camper. Can’t really blame the kid for that.
Off to the doctor we went, where I was certain he’d gotten a corneal abrasion or some other eye condition that would squick me the fuck out. You’d think that because I’m a nurse, I’d be immune, but BLECH. No.
Turns out, it wasn’t related to his sister’s gentle, loving caress to the eyeball with a piece of metal. No. Pinkeye. Fuck. Ew. Gross. Nasty.
So we did our course of eye-drops, while I tried not to vomit because EW GROSS EYEBALL and then I got sick with the Mysterious Oregon Train Disease (which I still motherfucking HAVE)(talk about bullshit. Dysentery would be SO much more glamorous than this). Come to think of it, it’s probably from the doctor’s office. Remind me to pick up a hazmat suit, Pranksters.
Yesterday, my day care lady informed me that my daughter woke up with goo in her eye too. She, too, went on the eyedrops. Along with my son, whose eye goo has returned. The universe likes to torture me sometimes.
So now I wait, Pranksters. I wait for the day when I wake up with The Blob on my face. Because anyone who knows me knows I’m twenty-five-niner times more likely to get infected with kid crap than the average bear, I’m certain that when I do, it will be a Blob That Ate My Face. I’m altogether certain, in fact, that my Blob will mutate and become an actual living, breathing Blob, like the pink goo from Ghostbusters II.
Here’s hoping it’ll dance to “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.”