When I started blogging a year ago this time, I swore I would never be one of those bland, self-absorbed bloggers who apologized every time I couldn’t write: “Sorry I haven’t been writing—it was really time to cut my toenails.” But I misunderstood the nature of blogging and have therefore neglected its most important component—you, my reader. I’ll make that singular for now, since there is probably just one of you left after my heartless and unexplained absence.
I wish I had a really good excuse, like a cancer diagnosis or another pregnancy, but in fact I just stopped having good ideas about what to write. So now you know my deepest authorial secret and shame—I am unreliable. I dry up. I get writer’s block, or I just get absorbed in living life and soaking it up, and sometimes my sponge is deep enough to hold it all, nothing leaking out onto the page. Every once in a while it’s like that. But since I’ll always need somewhere to drip, I thank each and every one of you for hanging a bucket under the faucet, confident that someday again the water would flow.
So here I am again. I came back because of you. I have something to tell you.
I still recall with great tenderness the woman I became upon the arrival of my firstborn. Suddenly dependent, physically limited by recovery from birth, exhaustion and my inexperience with the quotidian tasks of caring for a newborn, hormonally irrational, new in my marriage…this fragile woman had none of the competence or independence by which I defined myself professionally for so many years. Yet, in those first two weeks before I slipped on some Baby Blues and skidded into a downward spiral of post-partum depression and marital confusion, I had a laugh like none other. My newborn son, belly to belly with me, delighted in the great rolling laughter that shook through his mama from her breath to her bones.
I still have days when I feel like I have lost my smile. A grimness settles over me when I know I have deeply failed my children. I recently read that having a reason to rage does not give me the right. I know this. But there are days when I still do not know what to do with the rage that overwhelms me when my children choose escalation and I can’t unstick the conflict. I’m not Cast-Iron-Skillet crazy, but I can tell from the look in my children’s eyes that even Get-to-Your-Room-Now-and-Stay-There-So-Help-Me! disturbs and intrigues them in ways I would prefer not to repeat. They simply don’t realize what I am trying to save when I-Have-Had-Enough! Continue reading →