Don’t look now but I’m actually happy today. I know those of you accustomed to my semi-depressed, ambivalent rantings about parenthood expect better (or worse) but I find myself this week in a strangely buoyant mood. I have asked those close to me whether I may be having my first ever manic episode, but since I am neither staying up all night nor being overly productive, it appears I may simply be in that mythical state I have only previously heard spoken of in hushed tones—contentment.
Contentment? Why that only ever appears in Disney movies or on the self-satisfied face of Princess Kate Middleton, I hear you exclaim. How could our depressed heroine, who for years has been taking us down into the tunnel of darkness, have found her way to the light? Has she sold out? Did she change her meds? Why oh why has the Patron of the Sads forsaken us?
The truth is that everything changes, even the good stuff, and so I may well be back in the land of the discontent before long. It’s not that there haven’t been difficult moments. Just last night I was lucky enough to eat at a restaurant with my children, and when the food didn’t come sufficiently quickly, turned into a hypoglycemic cunt. Their every word became an assault on my senses, until I could only mutter, “Mommy can’t talk ‘til we’ve eaten,” over and over again like a demented animal.
Yet once the food came, I was remarkably quickly restored to sanity, and destined to enjoy the company of my children for the rest of that day. Yes. Enjoy. My. Children. I can hardly believe it, but apparently when I remove my expectations for how parenting should be (i.e: siblings not punching each other in the face, then being best buddies moments later) my children are incredibly lovable human beings.
I am relishing these times, when they are still young and sweet enough to allow themselves to be cuddled (the older one grudgingly,) their brilliant and not so brilliant observations, and even their histrionic tears. Maybe it’s because I have been on two podcasts this week promoting my book, and this gives me a sense that my creative life is moving forward. Maybe it’s because things are going well with the dude I’m seeing. Or maybe it’s because I’ve had the luxury of having time to do plenty of yoga, at the risk of being the clichéd Malibu mom who has co-opted a thousands year old tradition to serve her own superficial needs; while people in India do it on dirt floors, I go to classes with ladies dressed in Lululemon on designer yoga mats. Though I’m aware of these ironies, I have to admit that today at the end of a class, I closed my eyes and welled up with joy as deep down for just a quarter of a second, I felt the incredible privilege of being alive.