Monday, September 7, 2015

All the posts I didn't publish

There is never enough time.  I finally started reading that book about time, and I don't ever seem to find the time to read as much as I want of it.


Bedtime sometimes takes an hour and a half of sobbing.  Sometimes it takes 30 seconds.  There is no way to predict which it will be!


First Gestures
by Julia Spicher Kasdorf

Among the first we learn is good-bye,
your tiny wrist between Dad’s forefinger
and thumb forced to wave bye-bye to Mom,
whose hand sails brightly behind a windshield.
Then it’s done to make us follow:
in a crowded mall, a woman waves, “Bye,
we’re leaving," and her son stands firm
sobbing, until at last he runs after her,
among shoppers drifting like sharks
who must drag their great hulks
underwater, even in sleep, or drown.

Living, we cover vast territories;
imagine your life drawn on a map--
a scribble on the town where you grew up,
each bus trip traced between school
and home, or a clean line across the sea
to a place you flew once. Think of the time
and things we accumulate, all the while growing
more conscious of losing and leaving. Aging,
our bodies collect wrinkles and scars
for each place the world would not give
under our weight. Our thoughts get laced
with strange aches, sweet as the final chord
that hangs in a guitar’s blond torso.

Think how a particular ridge of hills
from a summer of your childhood grows
in significance, or one hour of light--
late afternoon, say, when thick sun flings
the shadow of Virginia creeper vines
across the wall of a tiny, white room
where a girl makes love for the first time.
Its leaves tremble like small hands
against the screen while she weeps
in the arms of her bewildered lover.
She’s too young to see that as we gather
losses, we may also grow in love;
as in passion, the body shudders
and clutches what it must release.


Sometimes I feel like I don't talk about hard stuff here anymore.  It's not that hard stuff doesn't exist in my life, it's that a lot of it feels very pedestrian.  Constant exhaustion from a long commute that we sometimes argue about, and which at the end of the day logic decrees is mostly my domain (fuck you, logic); trying to navigate friendships into our thirties (thank god for uncomplicated people);


I don’t know anything about light, from where
it comes nor where it goes,
I only want the light to light up,
I do not ask to the night
I wait for it and it envelops me,
And so you, bread and light
And shadow are.

--Excerpt from And because Love battles, by Pablo Neruda

When I have a horrible no-good rotten weekend (as is inevitable in our endless numbered days) I am going to look back on this weekend and it will warm my soul-y bits.  I hesitate to use the word perfect, because there were the imperfect moments--but nothing so terrible as to cloud the weekend as a whole.  It was close to perfect.  We listened to Kaki King and let it filter through the house for hours, we baked challah bread for the first time, we took multiple walks so we can try and get our overweight Corgi down a few pounds.  It was good.  Really good.

I struggle a lot with feeling a weight of pressure to be "on" every moment I'm with the baby, though.

Interlude: I should note, I'm writing this while the baby is screaming over the monitor.  She's just tired.  She is fine -- I've checked!  It is so hard to write while there is screaming that does not end.  No wonder fewer women are published.  They should make a FitBit that tracks every time your "flow" gets interrupted -- like the sleep tracker, but...better?  Or more demoralizing?  

Interlude the Second: Screaming has been soothed!  We'll see how far that gets me...

So.  I struggle a lot with feeling a weight of pressure to be "on" every moment I'm with the baby.  Not just the picnic-ing, but the mundane stuff that happens in the home, too.  I feel like working full-time outside the home is definitely a good fit for me, but it is tiring--Monday mornings I work the 1-9 shift, which means I'm on baby duty alone on the morning after the weekend of trading and sharing baby duties, and I'll be honest: I sometimes look forward to Monday mornings and sometimes, they are also hard.  I'm exhausted from the weekend of being "on" but also gearing up for the workweek where I have to be ON on, and thinking ahead to projects, and basically straddling the weekend and the workweek in this final few hours of in-between-ness.

Is it because I'm not with her during the week that makes the weekend hard, that makes those solo Monday mornings hard?  It's not that I can't parent as well during these times--it's that I feel like it is so draining because I'm not there for her weekly daily routine, I'm not there to read all those cues, and I don't feel guilty over that, but not feeling guilty for being my family's head breadwinner doesn't mean it doesn't cause exhaustion, fatigue, and frustration from time to time.  M-F (and sometimes Sat when I'm the Saturday Librarian) I see my daughter for about an hour, tops.  So, when it's suddenly multiple hours in a day, it's this weird jarring experience.  I don't transition smoothly, ripple-free, from being on the library management team with my head in the workflow to being a parent at home trying not make sure my baby doesn't lick the walls, comforting, maintaining CONSTANT VIGILANCE, and trying to write stuff in the in-between moments (freelance work with deadlines, stuff I promised friends I'd write).


I looked at all the drafts in my blog queue, and decided to hell with it, here's everything.  A blog post buffet.  Funnily, most of these things (as is typical in life) have smoothed themselves over (we split the commute, defying logic, for example) or are no longer frustrations (she's sleeping with very little fussing before bed now).  Or are actively being smoothed.  I guess not having much to blog about isn't a bad thing?  My daughter is a delight.  Sometimes parenthood and partnerships are hard, and sometimes they are not hard at all.  My career brings me a lot of satisfaction and stress in turns.  Patrick has an interview on Monday for his, which would be great, Universe, if that could come through.  But you know, we're captive on the carousel of time, the painted ponies go up and down, etc.

I want to bottle everything up.  But I don't know how to do that anymore.  Everything seems to slip through my fingers.  It's like trying to gather up chicks.  Or bottle fog.


  1. Yes, that's all I have. The exhaustion, and wanting to be in the moment, leaves not much time for anything. Happy times, but also, how I wish I could nap!

    1. Late reply is LATE but: omg naps. Naps are the best!

  2. Yes! I love that drafts gathering dust bothers you the same way it bothers me. I've kind of let it go entirely since M's been here though. Regarding the weird transition from not getting to see your kid to seeing her all day, it gets better. <3

    1. Drives me slooooooowly bonkers -- it's like seeing a record of work not completed! I'm glad it's not just me!

  3. I randomly found your blog and love your posts! As a full-time working mom to a two year old, who also has a long commute (due to grandma babysitting some days), and a child who never really liked sleep, I can really relate to how hard it is to feel as perky or engaged as you would like to. We toughed out sleep training a couple times and it did help, but it is still exhausting to be a parent even on the best days.

    1. Aw, thank you! And I hear you on the exhausting nature of it all -- I never really understood the bone-deep tiredness parents were talking about before having a kid. Now I'm all, oh man, let me tell you how tired I am! to everyone.