Saturday, July 17, 2010

Here's to my week of feeling human again

The kids were both at overnight camp this week. They had great workers (Can I keep them?) who stood up for them and stuck by them and they (the kids and the workers) made it the whole week!

It's amazing the difference I felt in my body without them here.

I was present. I could feel the fishcakes I was forming in my hands; smell the grass I had mowed, sing along with the music (not straining to hear what was happening in the next room). Tension-free. Soft.

I could make supper without thinking about how much T.V. they were watching to make that possible and how much they were going to "Ew, gross" it when it was done. I could wash windows outside without worrying about what kind of trouble they were getting into inside. I could run out to buy clothes, take a walk, meet a friend - all without phoning through a list of 7 names first to find a babysitter!

Best of all, I could read for hours without feeling that I really should be giving K. and G. something right now: nutrition, exercise, math practice, rest, attention, a play date, or new underwear. Everything feels lighter and brighter when you are just you and not the physician/chauffeur/mediator/teacher/psychologist/advocate/entertainer/police officer/receptionist/chef/personal trainer/maid/nurse/bodyguard on call.

Here are some of the things I didn't do this week:
  1. A load of laundry a day.
  2. The whole bedtime "Get in the tub, out of tub, to the table, to the bathroom, into bed, before I count to three" routine. (Gah, that whole ending can take the shine off the best day.)
  3. The "He didn't mean to hurt your feelings, but you have to stop bugging him now" conversation.
  4. The daily wipe-off of toothpaste splatter on the bathroom mirror, counter, and, sometimes floor.
  5. Any work after 9 pm!
Here are some of the things I did:
  1. Met my cousin for coffee. He always makes me feel like a beautiful genius. (It does run in the family.)
  2. Found a sundress for $15, jeans for $10, and dark-wash denim capris for $20.
  3. Helped T. carry and screw up drywall in my laundry room. (Of all things I've screwed up in my life, of this one I am most proud.)
  4. Finished reading The explosive child, Getting your kid on a gluten-free, casein-free diet, and Brennan Manning's The furious longing of God, and start reading Toni Morrison's Beloved and another Jodi Picoult novel, Vanishing Acts.
  5. Put my feet up on the dash.
  6. Had Mongolian stir fry with another couple and didn't look at my watch once to see when we needed to be home.
  7. Spent 10 hours transcribing interviews from last month that I haven't even had time to listen to.
  8. Went to the beach with T. twice and listened to the waves and the birds and felt the sun on my face. (And didn't have to worry about anybody drowning or being abducted while I read my novel and ate too many chips.)
  9. Made up some gluten-free flour mixes.
  10. Enjoyed quiet, uninterrupted couple-time from supper till bed.
  11. Ate chocolate whenever, wherever, however I wanted. (Fondue was my favourite.)
I was hoping that a break would make me a more relaxed mother. But last night, thinking about returning to my hyper-vigilant 24/7 on-call post, the tension returned. I felt like my body was bound up with copper wire, digging into my skin. I need to do whatever I can to make sure that small breaks keep coming, so I don't snap.

To help maintain the "I'm a person too" feeling, here's my plan: I resolve, no matter how I feel, to lose the "I'm so overwhelmed I can't take it" edge in my voice which makes me and T. both feel like running away from home. To do my best to see my kids, not as repositories for earwax or boom boxes sans volume control, but as people too.

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