I first felt like some parts of me were rusted and falling apart back in the prolonged winter. It happened in brief spurts. Kindergarten info session, and then kindergarten registration. I held my own at kindergarten orientation, but surely I was well-oiled or put together by love and/or strength that day. Maybe it was luck. I think there was a day in which we were getting family haircuts, on a blustery day, and suddenly I felt like I needed to run out into the fresh air I couldn’t even breathe in relief.
It was remedied very easily and promptly, but there were bits and pieces of moments like that in the next several months.
When I was pregnant with Scarlet, I felt like a superhero. I had just survived two years of travel, homesickness and anxiety. We then moved back east, into uncertainty and darkness, only to find out I had gotten pregnant on the way back home.
I grew into that pregnancy, and it into me, and I grew into that responsibility. I even dared to wrap my head around the beauty and absolute miracle of life, because you don’t know unless you know. Billions of babies are born and each one is a miracle and a responsibility. I won’t speak for every woman on earth, but I dare say that most if not all of these babies are brought into this world despite fear, nerves and physical discomfort. And we do it, and mostly, hopefully, it’s beautiful. I did it. It was beautiful.
I felt so protected in that strength and beauty. It lasted awhile. When Scarlet was about to turn one, I started to falter. It was at first the milestone itself that loomed closer – the idea of a year passing. Then, she was hospitalized with a dog bite on the day before her first birthday. My fears and anxieties disappeared into something worse.
Maybe it was just the dog bite, but I think it was also the fragility of time and the fact that I was getting closer to something I didn’t want to face. Her growing up? Me growing up, even though I experienced so many good parts of growing up, like being more vulnerable and beautiful in motherhood? Maybe it was the common fear of aging. I don’t believe I am meant to withstand transitions easily. Maybe I was born with a more secure foundation to withstand it every single time the earth moves and the ground shakes, which happens a LOT, but I know there were cracks set in when my father passed away suddenly and it just means change is more challenging to face. I don’t believe I’m hopeless but people in my position or close to it can tell you this:
With Des, the post-birth strength and beauty lasted almost two years. Since my water was broken for over 24 hours and I spiked a fever during labor, he was on high alert at our birthing hospital. He showed one or two symptoms of an infection and was rushed to the NICU. Nothing was ever found, but we had to wait out six days of antibiotics just in case. I negotiated for his health and comfort for six days straight, while going back and forth between my confused three-year-old at home, and my nursing newborn.
I don’t know why my two year “no-anxiety warranty” is up. I don’t know why I’m so touched/nervous/teary-eyed so much lately. Is it Des turning two? Is it my Nana’s death? Is it Scarlet graduating preschool? Is it, most likely, all of the above as well as a little something else? Wear and tear? The need for maintenance and service. There are moments and even long stretches of days in which I still feel all of the joy, magic and laughter. Then there are times I worry that I can’t do this, and that I’m broken.
I don’t worry that I can’t be fixed, at least somewhat. I don’t worry that I won’t go through non-anxious years again. I know I will. I always will. It’s just the fact that I can feel this way all over again. Every time it happens, the anxiety is a little worse than before and the recovery is a little better than ever before. There are new tricks and tools. The recovery is more sustaining.
I think I’ll go into the shop for repair. And that shop was Cape Cod last week, getting help with my kids this week, deep breaths, crossword puzzles, music, and turning towards supportive people. I know you’re out there! So do The Moody Blues.
I still believe, and I’ll always believe, in my own self-healing abilities. Like with electronics, I feel I’ve been given the technology to rebuild, repair and work as well as before, if not better. Sometimes you just need to take it all apart to put it back together. So I think I’d like an extension on my warranty, please. One year? Two?