Walk me out in the morning dew today
I can’t walk you out in the morning dew my honey
I can’t walk you out in the morning dew today”
The brain droughts are somewhat preferable, although I would choose a happy medium. These times are seldom, but they do happen. Sometimes it’s like a total washout without warning, and other times it’s drowning by drip, drip. The thoughts and fears and terrors are a form of torture, especially right now. I’m no longer a young mother, but I am playing one. It’s slightly fraudulent and more than slightly fraught with the grief of an aging mother, who has sailed through two kindergartens, at least one elementary school completion, and is heading fast towards middle and high schools, and everything beyond. It’s a different world as well – a little fraudulent and more than a little fraught with the fears I don’t believe we had as young parents, nor do I think our parents had them as young parents. There were and are other lurking dangers, I’m sure.
I thought I heard a baby cry today
You didn’t hear no baby cry this morning
You didn’t hear no baby cry today, yeah”
There’s a collective unconscious and a collective grief of everyone who chooses to love and let go. Sometimes it takes me all day long just to get a shower. It’s mostly because I can’t physically find that time in between the babies, but it’s also hard to find the drive. I remember suffering shower ambition when I was in the first, timid trimester with Rider, and the pandemic had just descended on our lives, but oh, there was hope. Isn’t there hope now? If anything, there should be more. For what it’s worth, it feels more dire. This is hard because I was so far past this stage of trying to find the time to shower. I sometimes wonder how immersed I was, in my former life, and now I’m smarting as if slapped by time. Scarlet and Des are a year ahead of the graduations – the year before fifth and eighth grade graduations. And I wonder how I will cope because my entire life these days is one giant squishy feeling. I have tiny heartbreaks by the day; even hour.
And yet, I do cope. Rider lies on the kitchen floor, afraid to fully lie flat and feel the coldness of the floor, but unwilling to give in and get up. I kneel down beside him and touch his brow. I tell him I don’t want him to feel sad and so I scoop him up and give him local berries and non-local waffles with local honey. Then I wonder sometimes, if being so close in age to my big sister gave my mom pause. Her firstborn was curly haired and delicious, with maybe the occasional impish smirk. Wonderfully perfect and squishy in every way. Then she had to leave her, presumably for the first time, to go have me. I came home, weird and smelly and chubby and time-consuming. I didn’t experience this weirdness with Scarlet and Des, very much, because of them being three years apart in age, but do I have it now? Am I resentful he’s taking me from Rider time? And am I resentful I’ll never again have a baby girl? There is so much confusion and conflict, and yet, he’s clear-eyed and healthy and beautiful. He is just right. He’s so right, even when I’m so very wrong.
So I wait for the long days to pass, while panicking that they pass too fast, all in a row, into a blur. I can’t seem to find a comfortable and palatable way to take up space now, instead wondering who I am, where I am, who I will become, and where I am going. It’s terrifying, but comforting too. When I’m like this, I wonder if anyone gets me, and if I get them. I wonder how anyone gets by, and yet, people do. I do too. The pregnancies were a big distraction from the pandemic and the milestone birthdays all around me, cushioning me from the blows, and making me borrow time. As if I cheated the system; it feels a little fraudulent and more than a little fraught with exhaustion and crisis. I’m struck by the temporary-ness of it all. It seeps into whatever I see or do. I want to read a new book, but how many more books will I read in my life? It’s something you can’t measure. Cassidy talks about the Grateful Dead and I think about how terrifyingly sad it is that Jerry Garcia died and no one can see him play. Even though that’s been the case for nearly 30 years, and people have moved through. They create life and joy; happiness and art.
So I search for the little miracles, trying to create them or distract myself enough to let them happen. It’s how I find my step-hold and my place. Tiny miracles can be unexpected in their beginnings and entireties. So many times I’ve made the decision to no longer be an observer of my own life, and instead, an active participant. It’s in everything. The colors that you wear and choose, the shopping lists and to-do lists and work lists. The simplicity and audacity of it all. Finding the simplest pleasures; taking your place and space, even while you’re still figuring out the scope and size of it. That’s ok. It changes. You do too, being conscious against the collective unconscious. Not just against it, but through it – with its wide and vast mysteries and miracles.
Sometimes I feel like Nicolas Cage in The Family Man, a rich and lonely man offered a glimpse into a life in which he had married Téa Leoni, worked as a tire salesman, and had two kids. It’s just a glimpse even though he’s really living it, and the kids can tell he’s an imposter, fraudulent and more than a little fraught with regret, although he’s not yet sure which kind. The daughter looks into his eyes and knows he’s not her real father and decides to keep his secret that he’s an alien. And then as time goes on, he falls in love with this glimpse – of this life that isn’t really his – and the daughter really sees him. They’re playing in the snow and she sees his love and says:
Rider looks into my eyes every day, searching for approval or disappointment, I don’t know. Searching for me. Sometimes I think he’s looking for his real mama, the one he knew before Sawyer arrived. He can tell I’m an imposter, fraudulent and more than a little fraught, and he wants the old me back. I do too. I’m still trying to find myself and my own home, because nothing feels like it should, or did. I’m just trying to find the step-holds to fit into this new existence. Every now and then, I’m caught again with joy and hope, excitement and drive.
Walk me out in the morning dew today
I’ll walk you out in the morning dew my honey
I guess it doesn’t really matter anyway”