Viv was born five years ago, or just yesterday, depending on how much sleep you've gotten. My emotions have been heavy these past weeks, heavier each passing week as the daylight dwindles. Fall does a number on my body clock, disrupting my sleep, which then in turn chips away at my emotional fortitude. In a typical year this is a speed bump, easily countered with walks and a sun lamp. This year, I am crushed.
Viv's birthday party was so important to me; not just because we only do "big celebrations" on the 5's and 0's, but because this has just been such a crap year. A big failure at work kept me away from the kids both physically and emotionally for six months of the past year; the regret is hitting hard now. At the time, I was just heads down to power through it. Now that it's over, I look back and am newly overwhelmed with regret for agreeing to something that in my gut I knew was wrong for me. But the fear of losing my work, losing clients, losing status during such a vulnerable time overpowered me. (Anyone who experienced the financial disaster, got laid off, foreclosed, or has been on maternity leave knows this fear well). We have a long way to go in understanding how to support parents returning to work in our culture, including inside our own heads.
I think maybe, it could be possible, there's a chance...I was trying to make up for a perceived lack of attention with a big to-do for her 5th birthday. I spent a lot of time arranging and fussing and worrying about it being good enough. As luck would have it, she had an amazing time putting on each and every pair of the ten pack of Sesame Street socks that her Aunt Peg gave her. Because she's five. And it's her birthday, and why not?
As I work to build my own family, I am navigating emotions that are really the lingering shadows of emotions I had years ago. When Viv started kindergarten, I was completely blindsided; just being in a school building (and interacting with administrators) brought a wave of unexpected negative feelings. Everyone claims to have had a hard time in school, do we really have to experience it twice?
And that's just my own, small internal world; let's dive into the emotional exhaustion that is the rest of the world and all it's suffering. I am struggling to fully live the lovely moments that are my happy family life, the completely normal, mundane interactions with coworkers and customers and shop keepers and neighbors that keep happening despite the staccato reports of disaster, chaos, injury, violence, terror, and death of innocents.
How can I enjoy the innocence of these soft and curious creatures in my house without the intrusive thoughts of the random misery inflicted on others? Others so like me. And us. And this house of coffee and cartoons on Sunday morning.
Forgive me for crying. Where the fuck is the sun?