That last 5 months have been about survival. In addition to getting shockingly little sleep we moved, Pen got a new job and I started nannying again. It’s only now on the other side of it that I feel like I have a teeny bit of space for anything other than existing.
Motherhood is beautifully exhausting. The existing we’ve been doing is so much more than that. We are thriving. Pigment is sleeping more (halleluia!), Pen is starting a job he’s legitimately excited about and I am finding a groove in caring for both nanny child and my own. Things are falling into place to such an extent that I had a moment to address my woefully neglected inbox today. I came across this in my drafts from 2014:
“My mother once forbid me from shaving above my knee without explanation. “Don’t talk back.” she said; which actually meant “Don’t ask me any questions ever.”
I have two prominent scars on my ankles from learning to shave. She could never be bothered to teach me. After endlessly asking for help I learned… eventually. Every now and then I’m still dumbstruck by the fact that I’ve never once cut myself shaving since. Call that the learning curve of a child unwanted.
For a long time I didn’t want children. I guess that happens when you’re up in the middle of the night with a newborn while your 8th grade math homework sits unfinished in your backpack. There was no time for math, and no one home to help anyway.
When I realized I might want kids I fought the idea tooth and nail. All I’d ever seen was a mother who resented hers.
The little girl I nanny tells me she loves me as she walks by. Down the slide, pick a flower, come back and tell me again. She is how I know I am not my mother.”
Sometimes people ask me why I want to write down all the terrible parts of my childhood. My answer is this: it makes them real. It reminds me that my feelings about being treated that way were valid. Keeping your pain tucked away deep inside causes it to fester. It eats away at me until I doubt my own memories.
I’ve been feeling guilty again for ending my relationship with my mother.
“Don’t go to the well,” Pen says, “There’s no water there.”
He is so right. Because of the choices I’m making right now Pigment will never know the echo of a well run dry.