She’s happy as can be, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine”
So many conversations this week, about COVID and safety, and COVID safety. About The Beatles, and fun guessing games when a song comes on, and the kids have to name which Beatle is the singer of that song. I’m astonished at how I still can get them wrong. I get so stumped, with my blurry mind, as we play these blurry games, against the blurry Christmas lights. Conversations about people downplaying the inevitable spread of COVID, which I do understand, because life has to go on, and we have to go on, and it really seems to be mild for many. Except I’ll never be able to downplay it, even if I’m living my life and it’s barely a sniffle for me, as long as there are people in my life who can be harmed, or worse. Conversations about anxiety and stress, and the differences between them. Healthy or unhealthy ways to manage them, to tell the differences between them, to deal with both or neither at once. And to get through this gargantuan week.
I don’t know how to manage the virus with the holidays, with work, with pregnancy, with kids, with nearby positive COVID cases, with the one-year-old, with stress; with anxiety. Yet, I do. I am.
People ask me how I’m feeling with the pregnancy, and I say, “I feel fine.” And that’s because I do. I’m past the queasy, smell sensitivity, exhaustion. And I’m before the heartburn, breathless, trouble getting off the couch, indigestion, exhaustion. Yet, tucked into the dark corners of this calm, baby-kicking perfection, are tiny twinges and aches and pains. I’m sleepless from snoring-self-consciousness, which I think is a cut above being sleepless from heartburn or restless legs.
People ask me how I’m feeling about the whole pandemic and having kids thing, and I may say, “I feel fine.” It’s fine. Everything is fine. I’m verbally abusing our Alexa, because I couldn’t possibly yell at the kids or the pets, and certainly not the baby. I may curse at the sky for its darkness, or at New England for its strange climate and ambiguous allergy seasons. I can’t take Flonase, but I also can’t bear to think that my sinus problems are COVID. The workload is insane, the pellet stove is sometimes on the fritz, and the baby is trying to climb up on the couches, only to dive-bomb to the floor. Over and over, we stop him or catch him. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Nothing is fine. Yet, tucked into the dark corners of the chaotic, world-shaking upheaval, are tiny twinges.
He has taught himself and been taught so many words and phrases in such a short period of time, but it’s not just that. It’s tiny tricks and twinges and deep pockets of perfectly imperfect joy. His first tooth has popped through (at 14 months!) and he’s old enough to be aware of it and proud of it. He dances to music, scolds and cheers on the pets, and sometimes I peek into his nursery and he’s awake in his crib, tucked into his starfish sleepsack, and he’s just smiling at the ceiling. The world is frenetic and uncertain, and so are dark corners and the changing energy in this growing household but I spend nearly all day, every day, with a child who puts his hands on my heart, and is always asking for or answering the call for a deep and warm heart-to-heart hug.
So it is. I feel fine. People may ask you how you’re feeling, and you may reply that you feel fine. Maybe you do and maybe you’re masking a million little things breaking your heart apart at the seams. We’re all hanging by a thread these days, but we are also getting better at sewing over the rips and tears; intertwining our threads and our needlepoints. So I feel fine, and sometimes I can’t explain why I do, or why I didn’t five minutes ago, and won’t five minutes from now. I feel fine, but I am sometimes struggling and sometimes crashing. At 2:30am, I don’t feel fine. Yet by 3:30am, I’ve settled into the sounds and sighs and snores and hums of this now quiet, but often overworked, overwhelmed, and growing family. Sometimes I’m fine, and sometimes I’m not, but I know I will be, and I think we will be. If we don’t know exactly when that will be, why not now?
Night falls, like a blanket, and morning comes, like a glowing promise. The sun rises and then it lays bare the fears and illnesses and tensions and frustrations. Rise and fall, around and around. Like a ride you want to get off of, but can’t, you learn to move through and with the steep cliffs, hard twists and turns, and slow ascents. You’re stuck and then you’re free and then it’s too fast and then it’s too slow. Sometimes, lately, I stop just to look at him; at them. And, that’s one thing that doesn’t change these days. The world spins around me, and I’m rooted to these spots I love.
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine”