Sunday, March 2, 2008

Two Shower Friday

You can always tell when I'm having a rough day- I take two showers. Not because of some profuse body odor (though that isn't totally out of the question) but because its the only place in my house that I can go where there's even a chance of peace- the warm water baptizing me in stillness, drowning out the chaos just outside the bathroom door....

It was one of those days- Friday- when I could barely cope, minute by minute. Three of my four children were sick- everyone of them home with me- the baby
being the worst of all- looking so bad that at some point, around noon, I became afraid to put him down- afraid that we was just going to fade away- pale, sobbing, pus seeping from the corners of both eyes...unable to nurse...I alternated, for hours, between rocking, and pacing, and laying. Nothing providing him with any long term relief- only minutes of slumber. The angels in my life stepped in, without so much as a plea from me-Donna brought bags of groceries and surprise cupcakes
for the other kids; Casey took Benjamin to play with Ella at her house. Kim stopped by and made me laugh-

Things got really scary when I was on the phone with Dr. Hildebrandt, the world's finest pediatrician (next to the lusty Dr. Feldman from my previous home), describing Seth's frightening pallor, and Lily walks into the living room and begins vomiting everywhere, followed by Liam coughing uncontrollably and complaining about his earache. Unable to put Seth down, or unwilling to put Seth down, I had the kids lay towels over the puke and continue watching TV in the basement- as the waves of guilt began to wash over me- my poor kids- sick and fending for themselves. Why can't I be a better mother- why can't I figure out how to parent better, on days like this- what is the secret to getting through that I just can't figure out- WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME??? I kept fantasizing about running away- trudging through the snow to some place of utopia- a hotel, a hospital, jail...anywhere that I could just crawl under some covers and not be expected to achieve any amount of greatness or even marginal functioning.

I called Tom, begging for some help- and all I'll say is that at 2:30 he promised to be leaving early-not because of our family crisis but because of the blizzard-like conditions outside-
and at 5:30, when I found out he was only half-way through the city, the bad-mommy demons took over and I threw the phone up against the wall, smashing it to pieces, yelling the "F" word to anyone who would listen. Then I put Seth in Liam's bed, howling and dripping bucketfuls of snot everywhere, and I walked away- trying to breathe myself into remaining in this life...

After Tom walked through the door and I ....uh....contemplated shoving his head into a wall, I rocked Seth to sleep, staring, like a zombie at the wall in his nursery, where once there was the word "dream", spelled out with these PotteryBarn-esq letters, and now, with the demise of the "D" a while ago, there remained only "ream".
REAM people, I stared at the word REAM, unable to stop obsessing about the missing D- where was it and how come I can't get it together enough to find it and put it back on the wall. What kind of mother has the word "ream" in her baby's nursery? REAM?!!! Then, in my sleep-deprived and stress wrecked stupor, I began playing a game of mental boggle- trying to see how many words I could make from the letters that spelled REAM...EAR, MARE, RAM....and I knew I was done. That all that was left of me was the energy to walk downstairs, claw my way into the shower, and disappear....and I did.

I hope that by reading these words of desperation you are able to garner some validation for your own moments of despair- your own less-than-perfect days where you feel nothing but shame for your inability to be a better person. There are limits to what we can bare, as human beings, and even the most spiritually sound of us (I wouldn't say that was me- but I know some I would describe like that) walk to the edge and consider a jump-

2 comments:

jen said...

Oh geez... this is SO me. I used to think my husband was a baby when he was sick but honestly how can a mother get sick and not feel suicidal? lol Even before the symptoms show up I am weepy over nothing.... so pathetic.

Hope you feel better soon. I am sick too and james threw up but basically it was just a combination of snot and shoving too much food in his mouth. Just one of the cute things he does. lol
Only one of my kids is sick and she is a trooper.

~jen

kirsten said...

oh judy,
i don't know how in the world moms do it. i was exhausted & frustrated for you just after reading this post. honestly.

i could feel a shred of how maxed out you must have felt: how depleted, how shredded, how emptied out already.

not that i can speak from a place of experience here, but i think i can safely declare that being a mom is the toughest job in the world.

i hope your able to find spaces of rest & mercy, spaces where you can breathe deeply & let rest was over you.

peace,
*k

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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