Tuesday, March 26, 2013

a quiet room

I fantasize about frolicking sometimes. Like, just straight up frolicking around a grassy meadow—skipping and cartwheeling and spinning in circles, because I can….because my body belongs to only me in that moment. Or, running for miles and miles. Not for exercise, just to feel the fresh air smacking my face as my body soars above the pavement without any passengers on my front or back, without anyone pulling on my pant leg. Sometimes I imagine myself in the body care section of Whole Foods, smelling every soap and shampoo and candle they have to offer—reading the backs of all the packages so I know exactly what I'm buying. For hours. Just standing in Whole Foods, asking questions about tea tree oil and yoga mat spray without interruption from a tiny mouth begging for milk. Or I picture myself sitting in an over-sized arm chair in an urban coffee shop, glutting myself on caffeinated beverages and pastries, reading a book and staring out the window. There I am soothed by the lull of muffled conversations and terrible light jazz pouring from ceiling speakers...and an absence of whining and repetitive talking toys. 

All of this sounds horrible to my husband. But, then, he's not a mother (or a woman). The only way he can make sense of my daydreams is to recall the movie Date Night. "It's like the Diet Sprite in an empty room, right?" he asks quite frequently.

"Yes, exactly," I say. And it is.

"There are times when I’ve just thought about, on my worst day, just, you know, leaving our house and going some place. Like checking into a hotel and just being in a quiet room by myself. Just sitting in a quiet air-conditioned room, sitting down, eating my lunch with no one touching me, drinking a Diet Sprite, by myself."
Date Night

I am deeply appreciative of my ability to stay home, honored by the eight billion requests for my attention/arms/love every day, unendingly comforted by the comfort my child derives from my breast, flattered by my celebrity type status around these parts. I try to soak up every bit of baby magic Emerson doles out, and remind myself (as many times a day as necessary) that I will truly miss being this needed. As difficult as raising a child is, I am acutely aware that someday this will all be gone. The child, and the bond will remain, but this……this "I need you so desperately, please, mama, please, don't leave me, pick me up, watch this trick, talk to me, sleep next to me, let me stare at you and follow you and play with your hair, mama, mama, MAMA" won't always exist. It's the most challenging existence I've ever known, but the one I will miss most when it's over.

Yet, I cannot help but shut my eyes tight sometimes, and try to remember what it felt like to own my own body. Hundreds of images pass through my mind—hiking up mountains, swimming in the Caribbean Sea, sleeping till noon in an empty bed, dancing to bongo drums on a California beach at midnight, long, lazy meals in restaurants. I try to remember what it was like to make every decision based on ME, what it felt like to move freely and at my own pace, how it was to exist as one person instead of two. These memories are like a vacation, a much-needed vacation from all of this. And I think that's just fine, because as much as I'm drawn to that land of daydreams, I could never stay for very long. I would feel desperate for this. I would need to get home, to Emerson, where I belong. 

Perhaps someday my "vacations" will grow longer, or turn into real ones. Of course they will. But, for now, I am living in this sacred and temporary vacuum where I am needed.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.