I had my eyes closed tightly against the bright sun when my neighbor shouted over the fence, “It’s beautiful out eh?”
I clenched my jaw in irritation at such an obvious observance and the fact that in the last 9 years since we’ve lived here, the weather has always been the “go to” conversation starter between two people who really couldn’t give a shit about the other.
I wasn’t in the mood for engaging in small talk.
And for some reason this reminded me a lot of those early days when I had unwillingly jumped with both feet into hell.
I remember Chunky, probably a few weeks old, had been screaming insesently for hours. Thoses shrills, those wails, those brief hopeful moments of silence when it seemed as though there was no energy left in his infant body to force out another screech, had my patience worn right down to my bones. I paced the hallways of our home thinking of all of my family, friends, and my husband that were all just a phone call away, but my pride told me not to bother them.
“You’re supposed to be able to handle this Kimberly. You’re a Mom now. Look at all the other Moms who can handle a tiny infant’s cries. If you call anyone, they’ll think that you are not a good Mom. They’ll think you’re weak. They’ll eat you alive.”
I called our Health Unit’s Intake Nurse instead.
Her name was Courtney I think. It’s a shame that her name eludes me since I had called her every day since I had stopped breastfeeding. That dear sweet nurse played such an integeral role during my long exashperated days while I waited for Shawn to come home from work and for my OB’s eventual ”care” hand off to a psychiatrist.
I waited for the transfer….
“What’s up Kim?” she said.
Her voice was an instant comfort for me.
“Kim, he is changed. He is fed. Go put him in the crib and step outside for a minute. It’s beautiful out there. Go feel that sun and breathe in deeply for a few minutes. Then when you’re calm come back into the house and call me ok?”
And that’s what I did.
I could hear his screams clawing at my spine from the nursery as I eased my way down on the stairs of the patio. I remember the quick pain of the hard concrete against my tender postpartum bottom.
I leaned my elbows deeply into my thighs and took my index fingers and dug them deep into both ears to drown out all the noise. Then I closed my eyes and dreamed.
I pictured myself hopping into my car and driving on the 401 past London, Toronto. I didn’t have a destination, I just wondered how far I could drive away before someone had noticed I was gone.
The wind would whip wildly through my hair and music would play loudly. And I wouldn’t have to worry about waking a sleeping child with those blaring decibles, I’d only have to worry about waking the dead.
I would find somewhere to stay. Perhaps I’d camp. Perhaps I’d just sleep at the rest stops along the highway. Or perhaps I’d meet a bunch of drifters and I’d take part in their adventures.
I really didn’t care where I was going.
I just knew that as long as I wasn’t here in this fucking house with its bright cheerful facade that we were creating for everyone around us, I was no longer a ”Mom”.
And that I would find myself again.
I’d be normal.
These dreams on hellish days like these brought me tremendous relief.
I must have been smiling when I felt a set of eyes staring at me in the yard. I looked up and saw the neighbor on the other side of the fence. When she had my attention she shouted, “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”
“What is?” I snapped.
She looked at me bewildered.
“Oh the weather. Yea, yea, it’s beautiful out.”
“No hon, I meant motherhood. Motherhood is beautiful right?”
I didn’t know what to say.
Truth is I hated it. It was far from beautiful.
All I did was force a smile and nodded.
“You’re going to really love it,” she said as she walked away.
And I wanted to jump the fence and slap her.
That old memory flashed and quickly snapped my mind back to my spot in the yard. I shuddered and lifted my head from the back of the chair. I noticed she was still standing there waiting for my response so I shot her a quick smile and nodded my head “yes”.
“Well enjoy it!” she said as she walked away from the fence.
And I wanted to yell after her that I am enjoying it.
I am enjoying Motherhood.
I am enjoying and loving my son more than anyone on this earth could ever know.
Am I struggling at times?
But this time, 4 years after Chunky’s arrival, I want to stay.
I want to stay right where I am and fight this head on.
This life as a Mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister and as me…
Is actually quite beautiful.
But sometimes I have to dig to find it.
And when I do, I will beautifully replant myself right here on our cozy street in Canada. Right where our story began and will continue to grow.
And you’ll see me barefoot in the grass drinking a big fucking glass of wine with a smile on my face.