I've been trying to hold the pity party at bay, trying to keep it contained. It seems everybody's dealing with illness and impending or recent loss, and my problems mostly feel pretty small compared to those. Still, we're dealing with a lot of change and uncertainty and we have no back-up, no-one to bring Swee'pea to when I'm at my wit's end of a long day and Sugar D still isn't home, no family to babysit while Sugar D and try to re-connect on a date (we've been out alone together twice since Swee'pea was born, each time for only 2 hours; once this past July and the first time for our anniversary last August).
I've taken a relatively large amount of time to myself today, a bubble bath with the first Harry Potter (yes I'm ridiculously late to that party), an evening walk in the park, where the low sun glowed through green leaves, striping the park acid while salsa dancers pulsated to the latin beats in the gazebo. But when I got home with Stomp the Yard for more me time, Swee'pea was wide awake. Determined to bring my plans to fruition, I spent the next two hours trying to get him back to sleep, walking with him, lying in bed with him, crying with him. He finally fell asleep after a couple of emotional eruptions (mine) arond 10:30. I was too upset to concentrate on Stomp the Yard and have just been working on a wallowing playlist.
Woops... I hear him calling for me again. Oh, he stopped. I am really struggling with being the only caregiver all week long except for an hour or two after dinner, and even then he often only lets me put him to sleep. And I feel selfish because I know Sugar D's not having an easy time either. But I'm just totally. tapped. out.
Last night when I went to bed, Swee'pea was already in his crib (finally! I think that was the only night this week that he went to sleep before us), and a distant storm was passing by. The thunder rumbled benignly with almost as much rhythm and reliability as ocean waves, and I savoured the sounds while I waited for my mind to quiet. I felt cocooned in a lullabye. I noticed how the strobes of lightning penetrated my closed eyelids, and thought about the word strobe. I enjoyed the feeling of no chubby hands or feet scrabbling against my belly, no softly-haired head on my shoulder, nothing but the cool cotton sheet resting like air on my skin.
Then Swee'pea woke up. He fell back to sleep fairly quickly once he joined us, but I was back to curling myself around him, not altogether comfortable. I woke up this morning thinking about how much more easily I fall asleep when he's in bed with us than when he's in his crib and I have an expanse of bed around me, but how much more rested I feel in the morning if he hasn't spent the entire night with us.
The other night I was also on the edge, more likely over the edge. I complained to Sugar D about how hard everything felt and why can't Swee'pea just sleep for God's sake?!? and I need some space, some escape. He broke in to ask me why I want a second child if it's so hard. And that felt like a low blow somehow, like dirty pool. I started to attempt an answer, but I couldn't, and I just told him his timing was really unfair and he agreed. But the question lingers in my mind.
Tonight the three of us laid in bed, Sugar D too depleted to respond to my railing, and I felt so alone crammed into that bed. I cried and I couldn't keep my tears to myself. I made those wimpy crying noises and my body shook, and then Swee'pea started making the same noises, starting with the same sniffles and quick, sharp intakes of breath. This crying was much different from his earlier screams and wails, and when I looked at him he was watching me with big, scared eyes, unsure what to make of his weeping mother. His weeping overtook him and he hugged me and I tried to tell him it was ok, that I was just sad and it didn't have to be scary but I couldn't get the words out. He settled down, and eventually slept, but it took a long time and I just laid there, rigid, feeling trapped and horrified at feeling trapped and shitty for taking it out on Sugar D yet again.
Here's part of a poem my coworker shared with me recently, a poem that spoke to me immediately and has haunted me since. It seems particulary apt tonight.
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on
because even the alphabet is precious.
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your
because life is short and you too are thirsty.
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language
guessing at some words while others keep you reading
and I want to know which words they are.
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn
between bitterness and hope
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse.
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else
left to read
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.
Adrienne Rich, from an Atlas of the Difficult World
I'd still love to hear your comments on my daycare situation.