Life has been a little weird lately. It’s been a little stressful, a little exciting, a little scary, and a little frustrating. Ok, actually it’s been a lot of all of those things. I just didn’t realize there was enough room for life to be all of those things at once.
And I, I’m just not good at being a lot of things at once unless they’re all fabulous things. Then I’m a multi-tasker extraordinaire. This recent weirdness isn’t fabulous. And in the olden days when I was feeling less than fabulous or even less than good, I would lie on a bed or a couch and stare at the ceiling. Sometimes, for hours. Or I’d go for an easy drive to the ocean or even a mall. Sometimes I’d book a plane trip somewhere adventurous. I did whatever it took to center myself, heal myself, feel like myself again. I think fabulous is my default feeling setting. Or at least it should be.
And these things that motherhood brings into your home – sleepless nights, illnesses, bruises and cuts, yelling, crying, tantrums, potty-training, character-building, etc. etc. etc. After two years, what I find most challenging about motherhood is being 100% there for her when I want to crawl into a hole and sleep for ten days. When I’m nauseous, when I have a headache, even when I have a cold. When I’m anxious, when I’m nervous, even when I’m just annoyed, there is a living, breathing, thriving individual always with me and always aware of how I’m handling myself. She is watching me, she is learning from me and she also needs me to be there for her. And I need to be there for her too. There’s no other way to be.
Years ago when I had just been through a bad (are they ever good?) break-up, I was ill-equipped to handle visitors. That was my one issue. I could go to work and do a good job, I could even go out at night and have somewhat of a good time, but I couldn’t let people into my home. That was my weak point. I felt trapped and panicked if I heard a car in my driveway or received a text that said, “Stopping by!” I felt like in my home which was where I was most myself and most primal, where I woke up at 3 am to look in the mirror and cry at my sorrow, was not a place I could show others. I didn’t want people to worry about me even though I was in such a bad state. No one could make me feel better. I wanted to give the illusion of control since loss thereof is one of my greatest fears. I wasn’t actually truly out of control but it was even hard for me for people to know how sad and lonely I was. In my home, my guard was down. And I was down.
When I’m not feeling my best, I get that trapped, panicked feeling again when I’m alone and caring for Scarlet. It’s like a constant visitor is in my house, there to find out that I’m a failure, that I’m not in control. I really think she knows it too because she’ll somewhat ignore me and spend time with Cassidy when these moods strike. Or maybe I’ve successfully hidden myself and she can’t really see me. That’s always been a “gift” of mine. I can go unnoticed when I really want to. I can sneeze and no one says, “Bless You.” Once at a party I went so unnoticed that when rehashing the party with one of my best friends days later, he said, “Wait, what? You were at that party?” Yup. I was. We were in the kitchen together.
The problem is that sometimes I switch to the unnoticed setting against my will. I don’t want to be there but I’m there and I can’t get out of it. It’s like an Invisibility Cloak is draped around me. It mostly happens in group settings and doesn’t happen as much one on one, where is how I spend most of my days. And just like Scarlet needs me to get through the day, I need her to be herself, a complete and utter goofball. Creative, too. There are few bad moods on earth that Scarlet’s shenanigans can’t overturn. Shenanigans are her default activity setting. Her shenanigans help me get back to strong and thriving.
I’m not entirely sure what she’s doing most of the time. Brilliant.
The other day she ran around the yard stark naked, yelling like Tarzan and beating her chest. She kept tripping and falling, nakedly and comically. I got a stomachache from laughing so hard. I didn’t take pictures of it, though.
Scarlet’s Shenanigans. Keeping me sane and present, one laugh at a time. (Since 2009)