Tuesday, November 12, 2013

searching, hoping, twinkling

Standing at the kitchen island chopping onions the tears spilled out of my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  Sitting next to me in his favorite green chair he looked up with wondering eyes and questioned, Why you sad, Mommy?  Why you sad?

This wasn’t the first time this very question came from his lips.  On Wednesday I crumpled into a heaving mess on the dining room chair after answering the door to an unexpected visitor. Why you sad, Mommy? Why you sad?

Later that very night, after a time-out was issued for not joining us at the dinner table in an acceptable manner, one of them turned and squinted his eyes, you’re a bad mom, he spat. And again I crumpled, this time on Collin’s shoulder, because the words cut straight to my heart like a finely sharpened knife; they hurt because they were true.

I have been a bad mom.

I’ve been a fucking shitty mom, lately.

As I cried he looked up sheepishly from the dinner table, where he now sat eating nicely, I’m sorry Mom, he said. And again I crumbled, slithering down the kitchen cupboards until my butt was sitting squarely on the floor.  Within seconds all of my boys were there showering me with kisses and hugs while the tears spilled all over, again. And in this happy union he looked up as asked, Why you sad, Mommy? Why you sad?

The boys moved into the living room as I finished up the onions.  A quick glance at my recipe told me the next item was mushrooms; as I pulled them from the refrigerator the thought came to me loud and clear, like a message from God, except my head is still above water enough to know that this message was not from God, the very opposite in fact. 

Call Tanya. Call Tanya. Call Tanya, my mind chanted. Make a therapy appointment, do anything. Do something.

He is chopping carrots next to me when the thought on my mind escapes my lips: I can’t hurt them if I’m not here.

The past couple of months have been difficult, fuck; the past couple of years have been difficult. Raising children, working full-time, trying to keep a house and put good meals on the table; I haven’t had the chance to focus on healing, post-fire, when we’ve been thrown back into disaster mode – this time financially. We’ve finally said goodbye to a bad investment, a blessing for sure, but at the cost of any and all liquidity. That coupled with some stress at the work-place and I’ve fallen into that black hole again.  I feel like I could handle one of these things: the money stress or the work stress, but I’m not able to manage both.

It hits me, the familiarity of that feeling; I remember thinking the same after the fire: I could handle one of these, fire or new baby, but I’m unable to manage both. It makes me wonder, is depression me? Am I depression? Is there no hope but to be at the bottom of a black hole each and every time the going is tough?

My head is laying on the pillow while the events of the day are playing a soundtrack in my mind.  The disagreement between the boys, my yelling, screaming, exploding, and eventually crumpling on the closet floor, tears soaking the carpet; I get up only to repeat the scenario, but this time my fury is directed at Collin, I can’t handle all of this! I yell, and then I crumple again. The chopped vegetables turned into the most delicious pot pie but all I can remember are the thoughts that came to me in the process.  The tears fall again. He hears me, turns his Kindle to illuminate my side of the bed, it’s going to be okay, he assures me. But I just don’t know, because at the end of the day I lay my head on this pillow and shortly after I drift off the nightmares begin, usually three or four a night, of all varieties: car accidents, lost children, attacks by wild animals, my mind has no limit.  Each and every one wakes me up breathless and shaking, not even sleep is safe.

In the morning he holds our middle one in his arms and asks: Do you love, Mommy?  Yes! He nods his head enthusiastically. I lean against the door jam of his room, they know I am here but I pretend they don’t.  What would he think, I ask myself? In my tormented mind, it would be because I loved them too much to stay, but for a three-year old I know that would translate to she didn’t love me enough to stay. And so I know I must continue this fight. I must take the challenges of the work-day and face them head on, without fear and with hope that someday things will be different.

We’re sitting in the chair, all four of us, although the youngest can’t sit still for the life of him, up, down, up, down he goes throughout the entire story, and when it is time to turn out the lights he asks, Mama, can you sing Twinkle, Twinkle?

It’s his favorite so of course I do but as I belt out those words I realize they are filled with a lot of passion for a lullaby; a passion that is a call to Him – Him who I believe sent me here with the purpose of raising these children - and a hope for a brighter tomorrow, and as I sing I realize I’m not quite sure who I’m singing for, him or me?

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
Then the traveller in the dark,
Thanks you for your tiny spark,
He could not see which way to go,
If you did not twinkle so.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
In the dark blue sky you keep,
And often through my curtains peep,
For you never shut your eye,
Till the sun is in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
****
As your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the traveller in the dark,—
Though I know not what you are,
 Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

How I wonder what you are!

*****
Please don't worry, I write this only because I am in a better place now and because I'm a talker and a (over)sharer and verbalizing my thoughts/fears help me to process them.  A call from a good friend this morning reminded me again that I have a strong support system. I am okay. I will be okay.