Sunday, July 31, 2011

Into The Tunnel and Out Again

Friday. Work, babies crying, long day, normal day. A normal day is usually a day where I stop at one point or another and notice the lack of panic in my body and stop for a still gratitude at normalcy, for a day that is routine; my family is safe and sound. Through the fog of this depression I feel the gratitude, the joy that is waiting for the weather to shift and the wind to clear the docks and my limbs and heart to be freed. Until then I am stable in the long yawn of this black cat with nowhere better to be than in my brain. I take my fish oil, exercise, hold my husband close, nurse my baby. Friday.

Ever begins to feel sick. Sick earlier in the week, I had taken Mon. and Tue. off work. She had a slight fever that left, and I returned to work. Since the RSV, each cold moves into her chest and becomes a throaty, snotty mess, with or without fever. Friday night we head out for family night, come home, watch a movie, head to bed. Ever begins this routine: fuss, latch, whimper, detach. She is fidgeting and mewing and I am the milk leaking mother holding her, comforting her. I sleep in short dark blacks and blues of dreamplays: A rowboat is pitching, I am a man, my children are in the rowboat and I have to save them from the wave that reaches so far upward from the ocean it touches the Golden Gate Bridge, and then a new dream: Mr Curry is dead, and I awake nursing Ever, confused and on the verge of crying. The room is pitch black and I cannot bear it. I turn the T.V. on close the cabinet doors around it so that only a small light shines through. I am not afraid of burglars. I am not afraid of the dark. I am afraid of myself inside the darkness.

Saturday. I wake at eight am. My brain is wrapped in cotton. Mr. Curry takes Ever and I walk to the kitchen. Toys on the floor. Dishes in the sink, on the counter. Pizza boxes on the stove. Dog hair on the floor. My arms prickle, throat thickens like a scar, my jaw hurts and I am biting on nothing. I sigh loudly. I hate it when Mr Curry sighs loudly. I do it again. What, honey? he asks futilely. I rub my face. He holds me. For one moment my body lets go and I smell him and feel his arms and I am safe from myself. Metallica shouts from the boys room. Lola is playing with a friend. It is humid and overcast and the skies are grey blue. Sleep, he says, and takes the baby, and I do. I awake two hours later and nurse the baby. As soon as I walk into the living room I am angry again. My brain has filed a list of complaints that are being read rapid fire repeatedly throughout the day. We can't keep up this pace. I can't do this. I can't do everything. This house looks like shit. If our dogs pee in the kitchen again I'm going to scream. Why can't Lola put her clothes anywhere but the floor? I can't work and exercise and clean and nurse and write and love I can't do it i can't do it ican'tdoitican'tdoitican'tdoit- like so.

Mr Curry has purple around his eyes. He worked a fifty hour week and fell asleep on the couch and woke at four am and could not go back to sleep- and- is almost as exhausted as I am. We try very, very hard to be nice to each other. A hard edge enters my voice and I fight each time I open my mouth to soften it. We move carefully around the house. Mr Curry feels a weight in his heart and mind. He is strong and fighting it with the skilled expertise of a man. I notice this and silently embrace it. We have come far. The day is so long. The sky is heavy. It rains. It gets darker. I am in a dreamland and the baby fusses and the dogs bark and the boys stomp in and out and Lola plays with a friend and finally it is twilight and we snap at each other while the baby fusses and cries in his arms. It only takes ten minutes before he apologizes and I apologize and we are so tired. We are so tired. Shadows begin to lay on the furniture and floors and we realize it is later and we have not turned on any lights. I nurse the baby with one hand across my face. Mr Curry moves in and out of the room with a tightness across his eyes. I walk barefoot into the kitchen and fill with rage that my feet have dirt and dog hair sticking to the bottoms. The kitchen door has dirt and strange colored splashes. I think of the novel where the protagonist, a suburban wife and mother, burns her house down to be done with all of the doing. We answer Lola's questions and play with her and our voices sound orange and red and strange splashing around the house. Lola sleeps and the baby finally sleeps. I have a drink and Mr Curry has a drink. Across the edge of the bed while the baby sleeps above us he takes me in his hands and moves my face and we have sex while the T.V. flashes across from us. How American, I think, before I have no more thoughts, and then we are together and everything is quiet and dark and good. Still, I cannot fall asleep in a dark room. My heartbeat is very loud.

Sunday. So tired. We are still so tired. Nothing is done, we exclaim all morning in different languages. Nothing is taken care of! I say, and Mr Curry shakes his head, no, no. Look at the baby, the children. He is better at this than I am. But then I am better at it than he. It is his turn.In the grocery store we stand looking at bread on sale. Twenty brands of bread. I look at Mr Curry and ask Do you love me more, or better now, because we had Ever together? He blinks. What? Um. What? I think so? I don't know? I tell him, I don't think I love you more. I love you the same enormous and forever way I always have, since it started. He nodded. That's how I feel too. I say, I've heard a lot She had my baby and now I love her even more. I thought, maybe we should be feeling that way? Mr Curry shrugs. No, he says. I have always been in love with you like this. We look at Ever. Both willing to die for her. Both in love with her with our full and entire selves, forever. We look at each other. What is on sale, I say. I'm not sure, he replies. Let's see.

Later that afternoon, we are walking with Lola and pushing Ever in the stroller. We are in the park. We play frisbee and walk more. I take Ever alone around the half mile circle. The sun is beginning to set and the light is bright and clear and soft around the bright parts. I push the baby stroller into a stream of light and Ever's hair glows coppery. I am filled with what I can only think of as awe and humility. Thank you, I say to the world. Thank you so much for letting me have this one more baby. I have been feeling conflicted about not having another. Feeling greedy and unable to stop wanting more. Or the idea of more. That is pulled away from me into the light and I am exposed to my luck and blessing in it's true strength. Thank you so much for my precious baby. I am in awe of the random strokes of luck that can decide an entire lifetime of thought or feeling. When we come home the house is a little cleaner, but not much. What do you want for dinner, I ask my daughter. Mr Curry is on the couch. Feeling sick. I see Lola's top on the bathroom floor. I love you, I tell her. I love you, I tell him. I love you, I tell Ever. We eat sandwiches for dinner.
adrienne said...

all beautiful and full of want. but this, 'I am in awe of the random strokes of luck that can decide an entire lifetime of thought or feeling', has me worshipping your craft, your heart.

good day to you, maggie.

Lindsey said...

I love this, Maggie ... such an honest and real and gorgeous description of an authentic life. I am most struck by the way you evoke the light - the shadows lengthening in your house, the way the light coppers Ever's hair and it makes you feel awe. The light is often the trigger, for me, for enormous feelings, gratitude overwhelming, and the thing that pulls me back to see the beauty of it all. xox

Loredana said...

A normal day is when you stop and notice the the lack of panic in your body...these words are so true for myself. You wrote this post and it felt close to my heart.

i too at times can't do it all, clean, love, write, work, exercise, cook, laundry and it's when I don't try to do it all and the world hasn't fallen apart that I realize, it's ok Lori, it's going to be fine.

We put too much on ourselves, I think this is why we're stronger as women.

Keep on writing, you're inspiring.

Leslie said...

This is my life as well and you have illustrated the wheel-spinning struggles so beautifully. Thank you.

Annie said...

Dear Maggie,

I read this, and I was along with you for all this wondering, and all this jumble, and then, you put it in the perspective our home life always needs. Stumbling over the messes, we say, and feel, I love you. We eat sandwiches.

I hope Ever is feeling better, and things are going a bit smoother. Love does see us through, doesn't it? And when I can't seem to find the love, I find myself, and make my way back to it.

Ms. Moon said...

All of us do this- we break down and we know we are doing it and we know that we have everything and sometimes everything is TOO MUCH and really, all we need is sleep or at least a little rest from it and somehow we pull ourselves together again, we know what we have, we can do it, we want more.

Anonymous said...

I think it's hard for us, as mothers, to accept that love is enough to keep our families afloat. But when everything is crumbling around our shoulders we tend to forget that. I had a private freak-out over the dirty dishes the other day (but of course it wasn't really over the dishes, you know)? Not five minutes later everything had fallen back into its peaceful place. But you're right, sometimes it's just too much. Beautifully written, Maggie. As usual. xoxoxo

Lone Star Ma said...

I love all of you.

Caroline of Salsa Pie said...

Loved this.

I liked so much how you ended this. I actually said "yes!" out loud when i read it. You NEVER fold, Maggie. You press on and look at the sunshine even when it's cloudy.
My heart leaps at this kind of writing.

Elizabeth said...

You inspire me to be full to bursting -- to write, to be honest, to be passionate and filled with love and sometimes the opposite --

Your writing scintillates!

Brittany said...

This is all too perfect. I think your 'normal day' would be a perfect fit for every woman in this world

Mary said...

Your writing? Is extraordinary.

And so very real and true and empathetic.


Was about to sign off and then thought - it is just a privilege to read your writing.

krista said...

i love reading these essays of yours. these creative non-fiction slices of your life. so that we can all see them. xoxo

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