Friday night I dreamed that I had two more boys in such quick succession that I couldn't even blog about them. I was so guilt-ridden that my life had exploded and I hadn't even notified the blog. A few nights before I dreamed someone else I knew was pregnant with three boys.
Yesterday morning at the Farmer's Market, I met a man with two kids. He asked how old Swee'pea was, and I told him, then asked how old his two were. He thought for a moment, then started rhyming off ages: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and almost 4 (or something like that. I might have stuck an extra kid in there). He only had his oldest and his youngest with him.
"Wow," I said. "That must have been a BUSY five years."
"It makes me shiver just to think about it... I found that infant year so hard, I can't imagine doing it over and over."
I think this may have been the wrong thing to say. I meant it is as praise and admiration, but I think I offended him.
"Oh really? We didn't find it bad. We had a lot of fun."
The conversation died.
I think I'm getting more and more PTSD about the whole infancy thing as time passes. And this is fucked up but I've drifted away from the friends who had their first baby when I had Swee'pea and who have since had a second child. I feel a little betrayed, to tell the truth, like they've gone to the Dark Side. And I don't know how to relate to the enormity of having a baby AND a toddler. It's stupid I know, but I think my memory of that first year might be getting worse as times goes on. My comment to the man at the market said nothing at all about the joy and love and miraculous expansion of my world.
Swee'pea woke up several times last night, upset and calling for me. The first time I'd just discovered Punk Rock Mommy's blog for the first time (too late) and my eyes were red and sore from crying. So I laid down next to Swee'pea, full of sadness for children who have lost their mothers far too soon, and for mothers not getting to see their children grow. And I did as she said and cuddled Swee'pea. I wrapped myself up in the simple beauty of his eyelashes resting on his soft pale cheek.
I ended up spending the night in his bed, and returned to my bed in daylight. Moments later he was crying for me again, and he came into our bed, where he continued to cry and kick and demand access to my belly. After the whole night at his service, I felt grumpy and claustrophobic and didn't do a very good job of "explaining" to him that I needed a break from his scrabbling hands. I always feel like a lousy mother in these moments, but I rationalize that it's important to learn to respect other people's boundaries.
I fell back to sleep after Sugar D got up with Swee'pea. My dreams were anxious and restless, full of wild dogs snarling and snapping to get at two young children who weren't mine but who I had to protect, burning cars, and angry and alienated people like a Mad Max movie, all in another country that looked remarkably like the landscape of my childhood. I'd become separated from Sugar D and there was no way we'd be able to catch the flight that would take us away from the chaos. I woke up with the realization that I was on my own and unable to get home.
* * *
This morning when I arrived at the Drop-In Centre, a boy was sleeping with his head on the table. The back of the centre with its computers and couches was closed because someone stuck playdough to the ceiling and didn't clean it up. The boy was all elbows and angles and the table couldn't have made a nice pillow. I'm quite certain he was well and truly asleep, not just dozing. I assumed he was sleeping off some excesses of last night. I try not to make assumptions about people here but I can't help my curiosity and eye for details, and some things are just a reality.
When he came up to the counter after he woke up his eyes looked kind of vacant, and occasionally his slow words slurred. It took him a long time to answer my "Do you want sugar in your coffee?" He had scrapes and scars on the backs of his hands and forearms that made me wonder if perhaps he used heroin. Once upon a time I would have thought that was impossible in this small quiet town, but not anymore.
Later, M came in. Last time I saw M he told me that he'd once been very close with the young woman whose dead body police found in a park a month or two ago. Her story had been in the paper: 29 years old, history of psychiatric problems and a conviction for possession of crack. When I read it, I figured at least a few people at the Drop-In Centre must have known her, but I wouldn't have thought it was M.
When he laid eyes on the formerly sleeping boy, M exclaimed and hugged him hard. "I'm just so glad you're still alive!"
Later still, the boy was sleeping at the table again. As I watched his eyelashes flutter lightly on his cheek, it struck me that he was someone's son. He was so young, it couldn't have been that long ago that someone had gazed at his eyelashes resting on chubby, unmarked cheeks like Swee'pea's. Or maybe it was. Maybe nobody's ever done that before... who knows.
I'm glad the boy has someone who's glad he's still alive.
Weekend Reading: The Trying to Rally Edition
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