Humanity

All quiet

For the first time in my fifteen year shift as mother, all three children were throwing up at the same time. (first, and only. RIGHT?)

Its quarter to ten in the morning, and everyone is lying down somewhere, even the dog.

I haven’t been out to let the chickens out as I’m finding it hard to take more than ten steps at a time. 🙂 I’ve been through tougher spots than this. There was a two week period a few years ago, where the kids all went down consecutively, so there was never any break. This was just one night and at some point, they all stopped throwing up long enough to catch a few hours of sleep.

and now its quiet.

I have a book at my side that is creeping me out, called THE HUNGER, by ALma Katsu. For those of you who regularly read scary things, this is probably not scary. But I’m a novice, and I’m getting spooked by the ominous and the foreshadowing. My brain already knows whats what, but I am waiting, waiting, waiting to find out who and how. Its set in westward expansion times (Donner party) and there is a wagon train and bloody mystery. (even mormons, for godssake.)

So this is what I’m doing, after stumbling to the study to pick up this piece of computer, I am going back to it. Reading. Listening hard for coughing that will lead to more throw-up or throw-up laundry. We shall see. This is the gig.

When my kids were sick last night, they were so grateful. It was insane, but I recognize it. When someone takes care of me when I am ill, I am also so grateful. I love it, in fact, because I get to say to my children out loud…. I love being your mother, all the time, even when you are sick. You are my babies, forever and ever, and I will always take care of you.

Getting to say that, in the middle of the night, to a weak child, while feeling weak yourself? Stunning. Adding to that the sincerity involved? Massive.

So, its all quiet here. And I’m okay so far. Fingers crossed on this. all the fingers, please.

Its not all bad. Not even nearly.

Humanity

in which i call bullshit on myself.


It is what it is.

I’m a pleaser. I want the people around me to be happy. I want to smooth their way forward in life. I want to leave behind a satisfied grin. I want to be the hidden favorite, the one who brings a smile. the generous one. the good one.

After I do this pleasing, smoothing thing for a while, with adults, I feel the ting and tang of loss. What have I been given, for all that giving? Have they just taken it all and run? what do they know of me?

You know what? This cycle doesn’t really do me a lot of good. It’s gross. You ever hear of a male artist who spent his free time smoothing the way for others? No? You don’t think Hemingway gave a shit if the kitchen counters were clean do you? You think he gave a shit for anything besides his beer and his next adventure?

Almost all the famous women artists that you know of? No kids.

I don’t even have the energy today to call myself an artist. I fight it, in my head, pointing to other people instead. But you know what?! I call bullshit on that.

Just because I don’t have the myopic self-absorption of a male artist? I’m constantly distracted from thought and doing by children and house and family, constantly. and I don’t want to give that up, or choose otherwise. (i mean, i’d give up the distractability, but not the kids and their lives, right?)

They’re growing, I don’t have anyone physically attached to me anymore, so it is easing. Their demands are for presence and food. And the presence has to be close, but not too close. And I laugh as I type, because its true now of all of them, even the 8 year old girl. I’m the favorite sofa. Necessary at times, but not especially expected to speak. I’m the witness and the solidity. (and that might be the best thing i have ever written about the way i’m parenting these kids. although i need to squish flexible into the solidity somehow and I’ll work on that tomorrow. )

I don’t make enough currently with my writing. I’m still supported by alimony and child support. I’m going to have to get a higher paying job to manage without them. When then will I have the time for the writing and the thinking? I’m not at all digging where my mood is taking me right now.

it is the way it is.

and it’s my whole gig right now, to imagine something else.

my daughter asked me what my dream job would be. just this morning. no lie. and i told her, ‘mom’ and then for the second, i was stuck. but also very very dreamy. what is it? what’s the feeling i want when i go to work, what’s the subject i want to be working with? thinking with? hmm?

I need to get more dreamy.

This is a rambler. I’m working shit out, I think. Maybe next time I’ll write it somewhere else first and come here with something more cohesive.

but i wouldn’t want to shock you too much. heh.

hmmm. thought-filled.

love, love,

me.

Humanity

Kid pressure. February, you ass.

Mother Guilt

My kids started giving me the full-court press last night at dinner.

‘Get a real job.’ (*whose voice is that? really, i mean it. Who has told them that I don’t have a real job? I write and I raise them. What is not real? )

‘I think you’d be fine in a classroom mom. You’re not that deaf.’ (oh but honey, i am though.)

“I’ve never even seen you in ‘business casual’ mom.” (since when is this a complaint a regular child voices?)

This was dinner. In order to defend myself, I end up pledging all my energy to the ‘i really am deaf, guys’ team. and I am not deaf, let me be clear. But I AM profoundly hearing impaired. Being in a classroom full of joybombs isn’t something I think I could do well with my hearing. Not being in charge of the learning of the loves, or the distinguishing of one voice from the multitudes, and I am a very ardent believer that a good classroom is a noisy one, 78% of the time.

Spending any minutes at all thinking about how much hearing loss I have sucks. It does. I do not like it, at all. Feeling guilty or bad around my children because I can’t meet their expectations is killer. I feel so much guilt, like I have to ‘prove’ something to them, and the idea that I am not good enough, right now? Holy simolians….

It is true that I don’t earn a lot of money doing what I do. I mean, this here blog earned me 17 cents last month, though. (i’m winking at you.) The gods of blogdom don’t pay me til I hit $100, so I think when I hit 74, I’ll be allll set.

But get this, I make money on writing. Legitimately. Every month. And you know what? That is not something to be discounted. It’s only getting better, kids.

But my god, the guilt. The ways in which I want to shape myself to fit into something for them? Ugh. I can feel my inner glow contorting itself to fit what they think I should be. Wanting to satisfy whatever it is they think is better than what i am right now.

And I know that I do this in a million ways every which way. In dating, fuggetaboutit. But also in ‘what will the teacher think?’, ‘what are the other mothers doing?’, ‘what will i tell my mom?’

And then there are the ways which no one but me will ever see. ‘will the waitress judge us because of the rice that fell on the ground?’ (boy, thats ages ago…fuck covid, again.) ‘does the bank teller judge my messy penmanship?’

Some of these are absolutely fucked up, guys. There is literally no reason that my brain should travel those paths. As far as my kids go, there is no choice. What comes out of their mouths is just what needs to be addressed, that’s all.

I know, its just tip of the iceberg thinking, there is so much in there. so much womanhood, so much conditioning. Mother guilt. Woman Guilt. GAH.

i know, i know.

and so on, and so forth.

love you,

me.

*and yes, if its their dad’s voice wishing me to get a ‘real’ job so he could pay me less, i just point to the mandate of the court, and how i willfully and happily take less than that already, because of the ‘strain’ it causes him. roll right off me, devil! (i’m winking again, but in a snarky, vicious way…)

This is a woman who writes, and gets paid for it. Look.
Humanity

Feather me February

part two.

i’m an introvert. yes. what this means for me is that i can’t do small talk very well. i end up clamming up sooner than most people can understand. not because i hate you, just because i’m out of words. if you want me to ask a relative stranger something incredibly invasive but thought-filled, i can do that, and i’m comfortable with that. i hate skimming the surface, and i love the depths.

now add in my hearing loss? and i’m an absolute winner at social engagement. the poor people i am involved with. i can feel intimately connected to women who have children that I know and they may not know my name. but i know them, because i’ve watched how they speak to their kids, how their kids expect the world to be, how they are when they are sitting quietly watching a baseball game. Because I can’t hear much, my observation skills are HIGH, mammajammas. HIGH. Doesn’t mean I can’t be fooled, but they are HIGH.

so here i come to what makes up part two, which is connected to part one.

I can get dreamy. I can spend lots and lots of time in quietude, even in a crowd. I watch, and live on the outside of things fairly often.

I can also feel invisible sometimes.

And since I have had relationships like that, where i was actually invisible, it is something I worry about. I get too wrapped up in what other people need and want. I need to be sure that my role in my own life is the primary one. How do I acknowledge that without feeling selfish? Even typing it, I am imagining the moms and women around me judging me.

and the moms and women around me are better than that.

but this is the thing, the tether ball pole standing awkwardly next to the tennis courts. If I am likely to disappear into my own world, my own mind, how can I keep from disappearing in real life? How can I stop feeling temporary? How can I make myself stay?

a feather, to be tethered.

sigh.

-me

gray shiny feathers on black background
Photo by Takeshi Arai on Pexels.com
Humanity

Tether. February melt.

I have got to call this a part one.

because it is just too broad, and while I am not exactly known for complete packages of ponderings, I know this one will have many ripples for me.

So. The last week or so sucked. And while there were specific causes and effects and all that stuff, one of the things that came up for me was how temporary everything is. all of it. life too, but all of it. people, feelings, snowstorms, seasons. everything. It all just keeps happening, and going.

and all the ways in which I have felt temporary for a long time. I certainly thought marriage was forever but no. other ways too though. I watch my kids and am achingly aware all the time of how temporary it all is. Every hug, every laugh, every yell and eye roll. Every secret they keep. All of it. The things I will not know about, maybe ever. The dinners I make. The laundry. the laundry. It is too much with me, this feeling of soon-to-lose. Maybe soon-to-change is better. Is it grief that I’m feeling, before its time? Real grief is a sledgehammer, so i do hope i’m not borrowing that. What a mistake that would be.

At the end of my marriage I was definitely vacant. It started very early on, I think, when I realized how far down a priority list I was, but I was in it, I was willing, I could wait, I had faith, so much of it. So I was in it, lying in the muck but so deeply attached. It was going to change, it would. I could wait.

And then something shifted. I don’t know what it was, but I needed a break or I was going to die. I was too far into the muck I think and it was too hard to breathe. To this day, I’m not sure I was in charge at that time. I have no real memory of hitting bottom, or making such a conscious choice. But I did.

Back to the present: I feel like the awareness of it all hurts me right now. Like, I am missing what I am staring at, while trying to memorize every moment at the same time. There is a sweep of melancholy in me that is staying. What do I do of this? about this?

I don’t have the faith anymore. Its gone along with the marriage and the vacancy. Long gone, really. I’m out of the fucking mud. But how do you approach living without the tether? There needs to be something which ties me to the ground so that I don’t float off next time I round a corner. What do I tie down to?

Its an ache. *

love love,

me.

**No amount of cinnamon bears fills that. or tater tots. or even sex. i tell you from experience.