Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Forty Five Minutes

A month after Sophie was born, I made arrangements for her to stay home with Alex for an hour so that I could go someplace and write. I'll never forget how he looked holding her tiny, sleeping body as I closed the door: Scared to death. And because Sophie and I hadn't been away from each other longer than the length of time it took me to use the bathroom, I made skid marks in the driveway taking off.

By the time I got to the coffee shop, ordered my drink, sat down, and booted up my computer, I only had 45 minutes left to get back into a habit I had effectively abandoned for several months. So when the guy near me pointed to my laptop and asked, "Is that Windows or Linux you're running?" I said, "I have 45 minutes."

This is what happens with the anxiety and the sleep deprivation and the fear that you will mess everything up: You become a better steward of the things that are most important to you. Because in between the diapers, and the baths, and the feedings and the feedings and the feedings, all I could ask myself was: Will all the good stuff I used to love be there, waiting for me, when I'm me again?

Of course, now I know the good news. Yes, the best stuff--the stuff that fills me up and puts me in touch with who I really am--is still around. And the "bad news." I'll never be "me" again. As someone who has spent too much time trying to go back home, that so-called bad news has dogged me. I'm working on it; peeling back the layers of my identity, bemoaning each one, hoping it's the last I'll have to surrender. (Of course it never is.) Lately, I've been grieving the fact that I may never have an actual social life ever again. I know, it sounds silly, but as I watched youngsters gather for bloodies last Sunday, I wept like a pageant queen stripped of her title. I feared I may never drink my breakfast in this town again.

There is one bit of comfort in all of this, which is this: The things I've been forced to abandon during the course of motherhood were never that good for me in the first place. I may actually be a better, more deliberate person today, and wouldn't that be something? The things I still insist on doing are the really important things, because it's too exhausting, too much of a fight clinging to the things that don't. There's no glamour, no sex appeal in that philosophy, I know, but I'm counting on it. Because someday, Sophie's going to renege on her insistence that she and I to to college together, and here I'll be, with my laptop. With so much longer than 45 minutes on the clock.

4 comments:

Netter said...

You will indeed have time for yourself again someday. Try to keep some remembrance of those things so when the time comes, you're not sitting thinking, "Now that I have time, what do I do with it?" My "babies" are 13 and 16 - our friends with younger children envy us our "freedom," but the grass always looks greener...

cauloccoli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

Beautifully, beautifully said.

Megan (FriedOkra) said...

Yes, ma'am. Exactly. Amen.