Wednesday, November 3, 2010
When I have a minute...
I am fiercely committed to the idea that every single one of us fills up every minute we have. I can sit here and imagine that somebody with only one child has a good deal of free time, given that only one child has to be fed, bathed, driven places, and cleaned up after. But I am also certain that at one point I did have one (living) child, and I was very full, very busy. I didn't find holes in my life to make time in unless I looked for them. Life whirled past.
Even before I had one child, for a year I had one very big child, a big spirit, a hole in my life. It takes an incredible amount of energy to parent that, I tell you. Just this evening I was putting together a plea-for-meals for a friend whose unborn baby passed away several weeks ago. I thought about her, at home, glazed and thunderstruck, her two and a half year old son running around her in circles, and wondered just how long we could stretch the meals on wheels for. I imagined myself, after Fiona's birth, a few weeks later feeling proud that I had slung her in the Moby wrap, as Aoife and Liam amused themselves at the art table, and cooked our family a complete meal. But a newly bereaved mom? You just can't take that grief and wrap it up in 17 feet of stretchy cotton, get on your feet, and function. The lack of baby sucks the very life right out of you, and you are flat on your back. I was thinking maybe if I could stretch her meals to about six months, or eight, maybe she could feel a lightening then. But maybe not.
But although I admit that we all fill our time, I have found myself lately being angry at myself for letting certain things slide. I feel sad about this blog. I know that I have lost a good many readers over the last eighteen months because I haven't been posting regularly. Five comments feels like a good day, and I cringe when there are only two. I want--need--this community, yet can I blame people who give up when weeks pass with nothing? Similarly, I have been working on a project-- not a secret project, just not one that is fully developed enough to share in detail, about lactation after loss. My mind is absolutely swirling with details, ideas, calls to bereaved mothers to contribute, questionnaires to write, people to contact... but the days pass.
And in the days, I get children up, and dress them, and feed them, and drive them places. I run around doing their laundry and picking up their toys and hanging up their coats. I try to sweep the kitchen floor so Fiona won't eat too much organic matter. I put in laundry, take it out, try to fold it and put it away from the five overflowing baskets. I pay the bills, try not to lose anything important, and pick the kids up. I play with them, love them, enjoy them. I feed them some more, bathe them all, read to them, tuck them in. When they are in bed, at long last, I clean up from dinner, wipe down the counters, wash the baby seat, make the lunches, and try to figure out what we'll eat for breakfast. Then I lay out their clothes, make sure I can find coats, and shoes, and dig my car keys out of whatever pocket I left them in so I don't have a temper tantrum tomorrow morning. And then, I look at the clock, and it is 9:00 every time.
So if I want to go to bed at 9:00, where's my minute?
But, but, but. There is a big difference between what the above could mean, and what I mean it to mean. The above could mean, oi! I have NO time for myself!
Or it could mean, and does to me, WOW! I have a lot going on in my life right now, and I haven't even touched on the support organization I run out of my kitchen and the weekly meetings. But it's full with EVERYTHING I love and everything I chose (well, not the bereavement part, but I did choose what to do with it), and so rather than look at it as an opportunity to complain, I choose instead to look at it for what it is (busy) and say, I'm busy right now. I'm not going to get to blog every day, or work on my project three times a week. I do what I can, and I have to know that I have thirty-four years behind me and hopefully at least that many ahead of me and there's nothing more beautiful than those little blonde heads resting on pillows upstairs....
And so, I bid you adieu for the night, knowing that I've just used my minute (or five) to tell you all of this.