I hadn’t realized the heaviness I’d been carrying around with me until it was lifted. I’d like to be all dramatic and say (hand to head), “I don’t remember how long it’s been,” but that’s a lie. I think I may remember precisely the last time I felt like I wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop.
February 10, 2008, 10 AM
The first time Alex slept through the night.
He’d been such a hard little baby – a Benevolent Dictator of a person – insisting that no, in fact, his mother would NOT be sleeping for a year because, in fact, absolutely no one else may touch His Majesty. My parents called him “Devil Baby” because, well, he kinda deserved it.
However, sleeping through the night meant that he’d finally turned a corner. I wouldn’t perhaps, be up every 1 to 3 hours for the rest of my life, so sleep-deprived that I’d manage to dump and entire pot of hot coffee on my hand without realizing or, quite frankly, caring. Functioning on that little sleep was hardly functioning; it was surviving. And I had.
Not two hours after waking up from my first full night’s sleep in nearly a year and writing that blog post, I got a phone call. My friend Stef had died in her sleep. Age 26. Cirrhosis.
I didn’t sleep, eat, breathe or function properly for a very long time. My grief was heavy. Dark. I couldn’t make even the smallest decision.
Then came Amelia’s pregnancy, which, all three of you who read my blog back then, was fraught with peril for the first twelve weeks as my progesterone bottomed out, followed by a nice heaping dose of prepartum depression.
My daughter was born gravely ill, but alive. And so began a nice fresh hell.
I’d told myself I was past it – that I’d accepted she was okay because she was…mostly. If you ignored the gigantic scar and the creepy diagnosis. I would accept whatever hand fate dealt me. If she was special needs, well, she was special needs. If she wasn’t, well, then she wasn’t. Either way, she was my kid, and I’d fucking love the shit out of her.
Which I do.
It was simply a matter of figuring out which kid I loved.
Turns out, being pulled out of limbo has lifted that feeling of dread, that heaviness, and replaced it with an emotion I can hardly recall: lightness. Joy.
While I can recall the last time – by date – that I felt so light, I’d forgotten what it felt like. The world, once again tinged with sky-blue-pink, my heart carefree and soaring, and, for the first time in so long: truly happy.