Happy New Year splendid people! Perhaps you don’t feel splendid in 2014–don’t worry about it, neither do I. But perhaps if we all get together and plaster on a beatific smile, we will eventually believe it. We will become, if not exactly optimistic (for that would be foolhardy knowing that life has plenty more pain in store for us this year) then at least more present in this moment. And this next moment. And now this one. Awareness is such a fleeting bitch, can’t live with her, can’t live without her.
My kids are coming back from a nine day vacation in Hawaii with their dad, and I have a terrible thing to admit. I am not looking forward to their return. Of course I miss them, their stunning faces, their jokes and their eyes that don’t yet know that life is a bowl of shit with cherries on top. I even miss their smells, which if you have boys, you know about. Not to freak out my friends who have daughters, but I’ve smelled them, and they definitely don’t stink. Girls smell like what glitter would smell like, if glitter had a smell.
The truth is I wish I could leave town so that my ex-husband would be forced to continue to take care of them. It is so quiet here without any small humans (the dogs are not barking so there’s that) and I would go somewhere else quiet. I would go to a monastery or a nunnery or some other ascetic place where I would be given rice in a bowl three times a day and told to sweep leaves silently off the temple steps. I do not want noise, I do not feel like talking or listening and I need a structure to rebuild what I thought I knew about myself that got shattered in the last few years. I need time without wifi and porn and Netflix and anything other than staring at the inside of my eyelids. I’m exhausted by this life y’all, and I can’t see that becoming any less true when my boys barrel back in here- full of requests, and hunger and most especially fucking emotions that I don’t want to deal with. I have enough trouble with my own.
My mother called to wish me a Happy New Year and once she heard by my voice that I was not in a good mood, got off the phone immediately. She doesn’t want to deal with my emotions either. I get it. As a parent it’s hard for me to detach from my kids long enough to observe, listen and give them space to just be who they are and feel what they feel. I don’t know when to talk about and explain things vs. when to distract them, when to get angry vs. when to show compassion and when to have fun vs. make them do crap they don’t want to do. In short, after nine years of this (rewarding) garbage, I still don’t know how to be a parent.
Just think, in that time I could easily have learned Mandarin Chinese.
I know kids need structure, boundaries and consistency to feel safe but unfortunately I don’t know how to provide those. I’m a fluid, emotional human being, my only structure is skeletal, am I supposed to pretend I am someone else? Are our kids here to teach us lessons we would not learn otherwise, or merely to annoy us until we don’t want to live? Is there a Supreme Being in charge, or is it all just chaos, and if so, where do I opt out?
I don’t know. Maybe you do. Maybe you think it’s gross that I’m not looking forward to being a parent again (as if you ever stop being a parent no matter what State or continent your kids are in.) I know I think it’s gross. I’m selfish and self absorbed and disgusting; I don’t want to give up this “me” time, even if that “me” time has mostly involved crying into a pillow and eating cold lentil soup from a can (don’t worry it’s organic.)
I could more easily be of service to homeless people. Get me some fucking orphans, or a couple of underprivileged Haitians– anyone other than my own children. They are a mirror I don’t want to look into, a moment I am avoiding and a lesson I don’t want to learn. So I guess I won’t leave town, because I’d probably just learn the same bullshit lessons in Haiti. I guess I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I guess I’ll just stay home.