I paddle, but you’re too strong
But I gotta trust your flow
‘Cause boy, I’m in your waterfall”
Which makes no sense, when you think about how hard I’m working to be exactly where I’m at, because that’s where I want to be. In this house, in this marriage, in this family, in this little city, and in this state as well. So many states of matter and being and geography. And it makes a lot of sense when you think about the oddities of the world, these stages of motherhood (so many in-between ages), the virus, our places in and out, within, without. All of it swirls and then rests, fitfully. If you’ve ever read or watched A Clockwork Orange, you know that after Alex goes to jail (for a particularly heinous murder) he gets conditioned to hate violence. It truly makes him sick. That’s how I’ve become. Any other home, any other kids, any other life partner; the thought truly makes me physically sick. I am defenseless, the way he is, and that’s exactly what I want to be.
I put together the nursery, with a little library. We lowered the crib, because he’s learned to pull up and we fear he will start to climb up. Then, I fold the laundry, noting many nursing gowns and nursing bras. I don’t really need them, but I also do. I need them less, the way he needs me less, or just differently. It hurts to think about last summer; the rainy nights on my pregnancy group zoom. Wednesday nights, when I also checked the latest COVID numbers. I’d walk to the garden and back, rubbing my stomach, dreaming about who and how he might be. To think I can miss that, while also reveling in his infectious and quite adorable joy. Those humid curls and chubby fingers. I mean, he is literally joy itself. And it’s the human mystery to sob for times in which the virus raged, I couldn’t sleep at night, and I didn’t yet know him. There were still paths spread out before me; smooth stones and tangled vines. I’d hate to go back and do it all again, and that’s because right now is important. Yet I ache to do it again as well. If only to perfect it.
I think about that a lot – of the holes in our lives and what we fill them with. I like to think that the soil is richer and more sustainable, and that our vessels can withstand the molding heat and the inevitable shatters. In the least, I like to think we gain more appreciation for what we have or what we’re gaining/can gain from these losses and scars and shatters. If the past year or so has taught us anything, let us take that with us. Our fortunes and misfortunes; the way we’re empty and whole. When you fall in love, whether romantically, or with a new friend, child, or pet, you become part of their world. You’re immersed; this cataclysmic and gorgeous collision of souls and worlds and universes. You create something new. You are immersed in their waterfall, and they are in yours. So you have to trust the pace and flow, even when it alters, scalds; it freezes.
I still haven’t recovered from my droopy, sad Rider. With two kids in different camps in different towns this week, it’s been trying. The other day, I thought I’d get a successful morning nap since he hadn’t fallen asleep in the car, but it did not take at home either. He cried, but not a lot, until it was a lot, and enough was enough. I leaped up the stairs to his room and found the saddest sight on earth. He was dressed in his starfish blanket, as usual, but he was a sad starfish. And he was looking down with tears dripping, and he was drooping because of his exhaustion, but he looked so sad and alone. I scooped him up and didn’t quite recover, and still haven’t recovered. My tears could fill a waterfall; he, recovered within seconds. He’s in my waterfall too, though. His eyes watch me and my back straightens. He doesn’t miss a beat. I would like to see myself as Rider and Lucy do. And as I think Scarlet and Des see me; as I believe Cassidy has and does too.
it’s why I’m up late writing this, because I try to do as much work and writing done while they’re sleeping, so that I can be with them more deliciously every day. It doesn’t quite work, of course, because naps go off kilter, and so does my writing. Cassidy isn’t always on my same schedule. The doorbell rings, the dog runs away, and more work than I expected comes in. Rider needs another bath, he smears eggs in his ear, or he won’t pay attention when I’m reading him a book. It’s a lot to take; it’s funny how you only fall more in love with someone while getting a full dose.
I’ve been immersed in this world of Rider for so long now, and he’s been immersed in my world. It’s a collision course, and it changes flow and tempo. Sometimes I’m drenched and I’m nearly drowning, and other times it’s almost a drought. The pace is never quite right, but of course it’s always perfectly right. I go through times in which I think it’s all a weird dream. I go through times in which I panic that I’m going to shuffle right back into who I was before all this. This everything. This wild, wild world. Something small may happen, and I worry. Or nothing at all happens, and I’m handling the flow and tempo and pace quite all right, but I panic that I’ll ruin it all. I’ll drown or dehydrate. I mourn for so many days that have passed, while fully knowing what it feels like to be in the ones we’re in. It’s cleansing and cool. It’s delicious to the touch.
My place; glorious place. I’ve found. I’m found. And it’s in your waterfall. Any other place, any other home, any other “them” won’t cut it now. I’m here, and that’s exactly where I want to be.
And babe, it’s a relief to know
I got you keeping me afloat
When I’m in your waterfall”