April 30, 2011

I give up.

It's been far too long since I updated. I've started several posts, only to be pulled away by one thing or another, and each post ends up in that graveyard of drafts, never to be touched again. I'd like to finish something, but perhaps all I really can do right now is start. And start. And start again.

There was a discussion about motherhood on one of my Facebook groups recently, and something profound was said (not by me):

I am trying to peel back the layers of pressure and emerge as MYSELF.

I've returned to this over and over since first reading it, and I've decided that it's just one of those things that I need to keep inside as a mantra, something to hang onto. A reminder that there is a self buried under all this stuff and I'd do well to honor her.

And so I give up. I can't do it all. I can't update here with the regularity I prefer, I can't keep my house clean, I can't keep the laundry folded, I can't seem to make family dinner happen, I can't make the bed, I can't pay the bills on time, I can't be away from Simon for more than a couple of hours at a time because he just won't take a bottle. This is chaos. I don't like chaos. I'm a big fan of order, of balance, but I just can't seem to find either. They are both elusive, like smoke burning through a life that looks nothing like this one.

And I'm lonely sometimes. I have so much to be grateful for, and yet the loneliness persists. I would say it's the human condition, but I don't know that for sure. So let's just say that it's my condition.

And yet I'm not unhappy. Because motherhood has stripped me of so much petty nonsense, and here I am, emerging as myself, with bags under my eyes, jeans that are way too big, a hopeless head of hair, unshaved legs, a runny nose (allergies? a cold brewing?), a novel writing itself in my head, lines of poems scrawled on random sheets of paper, stacks and stacks of books that I want to read, songs that play over and over in my head (including songs from Sesame Street). I am completely incoherent and that bothers me but at the same time I feel free. There is no time to doubt, only time to be and do and all those other weird verbs. Every day another layer is stripped away, because motherhood is an exercise in letting go.

Some big challenges are looming on the horizon, and I am anxious. Keep me in your thoughts? I'll try to report back more often in May. In the meantime, here's a picture of Simon, who is now five months old and just as red-headed and blue-eyed as he can be.

And let's not forget Charlie, who is (as you can see) so not a baby anymore.

I have never loved like this, nor have I ever felt so real or alive. It's love that makes me myself.

April 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, My Love

Roy turns 32 today!

Charlie and Simon bought him some wood-carving tools and wrote him this birthday letter:

Dear Daddy,

Happy birthday! You are sooooo old! But you sing the best songs. And we love you. And we got you these tools because we know you like to make things. We know you are tired so we will try to sleep really good for you this weekend. We are so excited to go to see the aquarium with you and Mommy. You are the best daddy EVER.


Charlie & Simon

Smart kids, yeah? They sure do love their dad, and he really does love them, even though most of the time he's really, really tired.

We were musing this morning over how we met when we were 25, and we didn't know where we'd be at 32 (not that we really considered the age of 32 specifically anyway), but what a sweet (and sleep-deprived) place it is. Happy birthday, Roy.

April 1, 2011

this moment

Last Saturday I accidentally ended up at a poetry workshop. I say it was an accident because there we were, minding our own business, having driven down to the farmer's market for our produce and a whole chicken and a rosemary plant (which I cannot say without singing in my head, "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme"). We then walked to the library for some books; there was a conference going on, lots of cool booths set up in front of the library, and my mother-in-law was there. We all went inside, and I was nursing Simon in the kids section when she said excitedly, "There's a poetry workshop! You should go!"

"Cool," I replied, wanting to check it out but unsure of how to do that at that moment, baby attached to me and all. We talked logistics, I handed her Simon once he was done, and then I ran across the street to where the workshop was. My hair was unbrushed, I had no makeup on, and I was wearing the shirt I slept in the night before. There was a mistake with the program and the workshop was actually almost over by the time I showed up, but the poet running it encouraged me to stay. After everyone else had left, she let me pick a writing prompt from a list. The prompt was from Pablo Neruda's most excellent book The Captain's Verses: "We have changed a thousand times." I wrote for ten minutes without stopping, often surprised at the feeling of tears welling up in my eyes. At the end of the ten minutes, I had a few pages of rambling and a deep understanding of just how long it has been since I have really done this writing thing the way I really want to do it.

It seems that the universe really is trying to tell me something, what with hearing about the publication of my professor's book, serendipitously ending up in this poetry workshop, and then reading this just last night. The voice is telling me, "Write on, sister!" and so this week that is what I've been doing, pure unadulterated untamed writing. Finding the time is difficult but I'm learning to do this writing thing over and over; it seems like the process of learning never ever ends, even though I have been doing this my whole life. I told the poet who taught the workshop that I had been writing since I was a kid, and she said, "I can tell." And I said, "I don't know how not to do it. It's just what I do."

And that's true. It's just what I do.