Next to me are three squares of salted dark chocolate on a small china plate with pink roses that belonged to my great-grandmother, a glass vase of marigolds, Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight series, and my nursing pillow with a slip cover on it decorated with whales. Just a second ago, the record stopped playing Nina Simone’s “I Shall Be Released.” I’m crying. The boy is with B., my mother and my step-father. B. has swooped in to rescue me and has promised me an hour which by now only has 35 minutes left in it. I poured a bath downstairs but I have a feeling if I get into it it will be with the boy as part of his bedtime routine. I want to be eating chocolate and reading Eclipse while in the bath while listening to Nina but here I am.
When my mother called to tell me the boy was crying and I should come meet them and my previously planned hour alone disappeared it was like a gate shutting. But then when I found them and scooped up the boy it was a relief to be close to him again.
It’s been a rough few nights. He’s waking up every two hours for the first time in a while but also I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m not sleeping during his intervals and when I finally am slipping off he wakes to eat. Add to this the cat who’s enjoying some kind of summer revelry and the nights have been constantly interrupted. This leaves me with little patience for B.’s dark flashes of mood, my mother’s earnest emotional conversations, and none for myself. I feel like I’ve just spent this whole day figuring out how to get the boy his rest and now it’s evening and it’s as if I haven’t actually spent time with him, only spent time at him, trying to rock sway bounce him into naps. When I was walking up the stairs for my hour in the house he was in B.’s lap smiling and shouting in his new strange language and I was instantly jealous. Where were our smiles today? Also guilty–have I just been hounding the poor kid all day to eat and sleep and not leaving him any time to just be a baby and coo at the universe?
I carried him and he was a part of me and now he is his own person.
Last week I went to yoga for the first time, a class for both pregnant ladies and post-pregnant ladies. It was my first time back since giving birth and I was completely unprepared for how it would feel to be back in that room. The teacher told the room to put our hands on our bellies and feel our babies there but he was gone, somewhere out on the street with his father, with me watching the door to see if they would appear, needing me, or my milk.
24 minutes until they get home.
I could just move around the world then, with my baby, not alone, but still a complete unit. Now when I am alone, I am not alone, part of me is always with him. Is this endless then? Infinite? To never be whole onto myself again? Dear lord, I think of the trips I went on while dismissing my mother’s worries and I can’t imagine him being gone for those weeks and months. How I might live a daily life while he flings himself around the globe? Or forget the globe, the city. The neighborhood.
The joy and the love are beyond words. And so is the vulnerability.
This is it in terms of entries. There is only one more to come which will be my birth story. Maybe a mistake to write this on such a teary, over-stretched day. I am jagged for sure. Just too tired. As simple as that, but sleeplessness is like cocaine for my emotions. It amps them up, gets them chattering, and then crashes them hard.
I know it’s too soon to come to conclusions and in a month, let alone a year, I’m sure I will know a million things about being a mother that I don’t know yet, but for now, today, this week, it is this…that what I feared was exactly true: I am not alone anymore and it’s not possible to be fully alone ever again.
And it is both the great toll and the great joy of this new life.
Fifteen minutes. And yes, I want more time, and yes, I’m already missing them, B. and the boy. My guys. I’ll kiss B. and kiss the boy on his head and we’ll bathe him and play his music box and get him into pajamas and then I’ll nurse him and then B. will swaddle him and rock into sleep and we will spend a tired hour or so on the couch with my phone on speaker beside me transmitting the quiet buzz of his sleep. Then B. and I will climb into bed and eventually the boy will wake and when I pick him up he’ll press his legs into his bum like a frog’s, one thumb in his mouth, and his eyes won’t even open really as I settle him into me, tummy to tummy, and he will nurse with his eyes closed and one intent fist by his cheek and another hand holding my shirt, and then I will re-swaddle him and rock him back into his bassinet and this will repeat a few times until morning when I will know he is actually awake because when I look sleepily into his bassinet he will look up at me with bright eyes and a big smile. When I was pregnant i used to greet him every morning, but not out loud. I simply thought thoughts at him and that was how we communicated. But he is here now, outside of me, and every morning, every single morning of his life so far, he is happy to see me and happy it’s morning and happy to be in his body. Sure, as he should be, of being loved.
One minute more.