Sunday, June 24, 2012

Happily Never After.



I know when it happened. I know when I became a cynical, sarcastic shut in. It's when reality came knocking. I used to be this mother who preplanned meals, and craft activities, everything I had inside of me was given freely to them, and I was ecstatic to do it, I found meaning and purpose in it. I was the mom to beat all moms.

Then one morning I woke up to my baby and I reached over to touch his chest, a morning ritual to ensure that he had made it through the night. My hand rose and fell with each breath and I finally allowed myself to open my eyes. I looked over at his sleeping form. And then I cried.

I shook soundlessly inside my covers, tears running down my cheeks, snot pouring from my nose - and that bitter silence that punctuated my life mocked me and everything I thought I was. He never cried, you see. He was too weak to cry. He was awake for only an hour or two a day and every time I looked at him I stared death in the face. My own fucking mortality, and theirs - oh my fucking god - theirs...

I never retreated from loving Preston when he was touching death - when his beating heart kept my own on life support - but now that he is so imbued in life I find myself...different. I'm more cautious and slow. More detached and less involved. I want to be the mother I was before but I can't find her. She's lost; somehow always wandering in that place - that awful place when I realized that even the best of parents can lose so much.

I got up silently that morning and stood underneath the scalding heat of my shower. I rested my head against the cool of the shower wall and I promised I would never take them for granted.

In this I have not succeeded - quite the opposite really.

Because although I am acutely aware of their fragility now, and the insane tick, tick, ticking of time as it slips through my fingers...I just can't. I can't commit like I promised. I can't give myself wholly to them anymore and I ache from this knowledge - in truth I feel like I am failing them. I was given a gift in the understanding that nothing lasts forever...but I have curled up tight and have ignored the knowledge like a stubborn and insolent child might.

Honestly, some days I feel like I just can't do this. I can't love them as much as I do and still breathe. I want boring and mundane, routine and schedules... I want ignorance or at the very least the courage...

to love them like I should.

16 comments:

Tara Pohlkotte said...

oh darlin. such a raw space this motherhood, no? thank you for speaking your heart. i don't want to make a comment that sounds trite and unsympathetic to what you have been through and continue to go through, so i'll just leave you my love. and an air hug. which is like... a air five and an air guitar...only way better. xoxo

carrie said...

@Tara-Thanks so much hun. You made me smile. :)

Lynnjefferson said...

Very moving Carrie.

Renn @ The Big C and Me said...

Carrie, I can feel your pain right through the computer. You (and your family) have survived an awful, awful time. Be gentle with yourself. You'll find you again. I'm sure of it.

Sending you hugs!

carrie said...

@Renn-I <3 u. Thanks for the sweet comment!

Michelle Longo said...

I can't even imagine. Great, honest post. So honest.

carrie said...

@Michelle- Thanks. Every time someone leaves comment commending my mothering I want to say "I was...once...but not lately" I'm not a bad mother by any stretch of the imagination but I can't find meaning in the things I used to do.It just sucks KNOWING I can do better and not being able to find the will to do it.

Awkward and Random said...

You are an incredibly brave person and I wish I were near you so I could give you a hug, or just sit and have coffee and let you get it all out. Or even just sit together in silence knowing I am there should you need me.

I've had an easy life, yet I've screwed it up at every turn. This, I can relate to:
I used to be this mother who preplanned meals, and craft activities

I was once that mom, too. Now I just long for my youngest to grow up and move out. I don't want to plan or cook or be crafty. She suffers so much from my indifference at this point. I love her dearly, but I feel so detached from my life so often!

Right now, go give them each a hug. Look in their eyes and tell them you love them always. That is the best thing you can do for them and you!

carrie said...

@awkwardandRandom- thanks so much. I think mothering can be such a demanding job - so raw as Tara put it - that sometimes its easier to detach.

Right now im trying to find my way back and its not easy, not by a long shot!

I hope you find your way too because I know we both love our babies even if we are overwhelmed by it sometimes.

Patty said...

I know I am the type to be hard on myself especially at work. I know exhaustion has made me the mother I didn't want to be and I thought nothing would stop me after losing a baby. I guess this is reality - we all get burned out sooner or later OR we are just not Super Moms. Maybe we all just need to pat ourselves on the back and say we are doing okay... You are raising THREE children and I think you are a wonderful mother!

carrie said...

@Patty- Thanks so much for the encouraging comment. I think you are right, sometimes we are a little too hard on ourselves. I know I feel burned out and frustrated by not being the person I was with two kids. And with everything that came down on my shoulders after Preston, I guess its prudent to take some time. I guess I feel like ive taken enough now and its time to get back to being a mother I was proud to be! :D

You are awesome Patty and I know that you are without a doubt a great mother too. Having a newborn is so hard. I promise around the time he is a year old things will go a lot smoother. Hang in there hun!

Cindy - The Reedster Speaks said...

Carrie - thank you for your honesty and courage to so rawly share what is true of all of us - that we are not perfect, that we can't always give everything, that we sometimes need to protect our hearts. Beautiful post.

Cat said...

Oh honey, you're an awesome mom just for getting it all out there, real and raw. I think too often we fake our outward emotions so much we somehow get a kink in our heart-soul connection. Just keep it flowing.

carrie said...

@Cindy-I never thought of it that way you know. That others do this too. I just figured something broke in me after Preston. So thank you!

@Cat- I will, thanks so much. Being a mom is so terrifying. Oh my gosh! I expected all the good, but I did not prepare at all for facing the realization that I dont really have control over much.

Aidan Donnelley Rowley said...

wow. so powerful and real. thank you for sharing this with all of us.

carrie said...

@Aidan- thank you for reading :)