my son is so much
like his father
i want to jump
out the window
i can leave the man
but i cannot
being a mom
is so painful
that i catch myself
i’d made different
about a life
i did not have
i will never
as hard as i hope
all i know
i sit & suffer in silence as a mom. which is weird, since i am so quick to share all my other angst.
is it the taboo?
is it our instagram existence?
only show the smiling children. only show the confident moments. only show the clean faces. carefully crop out the crap.
i read kelly’s post yesterday about how we may be causing damage by only showing the positive stuff regarding people’s challenges and how we view neurodiversity.
it made me think, today, as i was struggling with my challenges as a highly sensitive person & mother of four highly sensitive children. we do this with all of life, don’t we? only show the good stuff to each other? hide away those moments where we feel weak or out of control or not good enough?
maybe we should just air out our dirty laundry. form an alliance of imperfection.
i know, i do it all the time with my anxiety & relationship issues, my imposter’s syndrome, my abusive childhood, and all my other “failings.”
and yet i still hesitate when it comes to showing my–almost constant–struggles as a mom. like, i can show you all my cracks & crevices…but what will you think of me if you know i sometimes wish i wasn’t a mom? if you know the chaos of my every single day?
posting this has given me so much anxiety. i feel like i need to put on my helmet & buckle down because surely i will be judged–a bad mom. but, i have not deleted the post yet…. hoping that my pain & suffering will let someone else know that they are not alone.
(my favorite quote from one of my favorite novels, the hotel new hampshire–by john steinbeck, is to “keep passing the open windows.”)
like life is too much
like my little problems
are just too fucking
i try to remind myself
have more to deal with
my stupid life
i’m just so tired
tired of struggling
tired of being
tired of believing
every decision i make
is just going to make things
every decision i have made
has just made
(but i made this badger inking.
i did do that.)
this morning, before i woke up, i had a dream about hamlet, our turkey.
in the dream he could talk & sounded like “strax” from doctor who (which is how i have always suspected he would sound if he talked.)
in my dream someone who hamlet did not like was visiting so he ran up with his head super red and called the guy a “motherfucker.”
then i turned to my kids and said, “who taught hamlet to say ‘motherfucker’?”
which is exactly what would happen in real life
if we had a talking turkey.
(another glimpse into my parenting skills)
this is my every day.
seriously. in the wee hours, i’m all like, “today will be different!”
by lunchtime i am just another one of the dancing monkeys.
i do like how this one turned out. but i would also re-do it if i could. once that ink is on there–it doesn’t like to change it’s course. that’s why i work in ink rather than watercolors. i like the unforgiving nature of ink–forcing me to live with my mistakes.
update: i did find my missing comics. i found them while looking for a missing pen. i recently unclogged one of my old rapidograph pens after years of it not working.
and now i can’t find it.
it is somewhere nearby…drying out…again.
why do i choose difficult art supplies? maybe for the same reason i birthed difficult children.
i really don’t know…i just know i love them (my pens & my minions.)
i know another reason why i’m feeling warm & fuzzy towards dusty right now. when we were married, i surmised that if we were ever trapped somewhere, dependent on working together to get to safety, we would die.
my observation was true of every time i needed him to be there for me.
except one…misha’s birth.
misha is my third child. my first two were c-sectioned because my body likes to take more than 42 weeks to perfect a baby–& doctors do not like to let a woman go much past 40.
so, twice, i let them cut the baby out of me because they said that it was for the best.
when i got pregnant with misha, i could not bear the thought of another c-section.
so i fired all the doctors.
problem was, none of the midwives in madison would support my birth because i had been deemed too risky.
i had never had a vaginal birth. i was 40 years old & prone to long pregnancies. these were my crimes.
misha is the one who suffered for them.
i found an outlaw midwife who lived one state over & would travel to me when i went into labor.
second problem…i didn’t know what labor looked like because doctors had never let me get that far.
by the time i was certain i was in labor–& not wasting the midwife’s time–misha was on her way out.
she came out fast. relentlessly fast. none of the stages of labor i had read up on were observed by misha as she rocketed out of me.
there was one doula present and dusty.
we were in a kiddie tub on the fourth floor of a 30 person cooperative.
when misha was born, she was having trouble breathing. she probably just needed a few puffs of air to get her going, but none of us knew what to do. by the time the mom down the hall called her midwife to come help, misha was showing signs of seizure.
the paramedics took her away.
the NICU kept her for 12 days.
they told dusty & me, best case scenario: misha has coordination issues & learning disabilities.
worst case scenario: cerebral palsy or epilepsy
i cried so hard as they said that. my heart broke. it was all my fault. if i had just been unselfish enough to get the fucking surgery…to have another fucking c-section…misha would have been fine.
i waited for dusty to blame me. he blamed me for everything. it was always my fault.
this time he would be right.
he didn’t blame me. he told me it wasn’t my fault. he zoomed me around the hospital in my wheeled chair–being silly & sweet–as i was still too wrecked to walk much after the birth. he watched the boys while i kept vigil at her side. he came to be with her when i was forced to go home & sleep.
he took care of us.
he was there for me.
seven years later, just as i would remember & be traumatized by a bad event, the good things that happened feel as fresh as yesterday.
and i miss that version of dusty.
(in the NICU…& one year later when the neurologist said, “oh…nevermind.”)
the minions returned on tuesday–i drive & meet dusty half-way to wisconsin. usually we do the swap at a rest area, but dusty volunteered to meet at culver’s & have a birthday dinner for misha (for anyone not in the midwest of the u.s., culver’s is a wisconsin based hamburger chain–the only chain restaurant i willingly eat at.)
so i spent too much time with dusty for my own good–upcoming pages on that!
and i got my four wild children back for the rest of the month.
add on to that an explosion of ducklings. my muscovies enjoy hatching eggs, but then they abandon the babies leaving me to find duckling bits around the yard. if i am lucky, i find them before they are dead, but it’s about 50/50 at this point.
my brain is not able to completely come to terms with life & death on the farm & instead of staying up nights stressing about having to butcher lambs, i decided to get rid of my ram (so no more pregnant ewes) & to just have some fat, happy ewes eating grass. someone offered to buy my ram–luke (pictured above after a horn injury.) luke is a sweet ram & iggy (my child who is convinced i don’t love him–or so he says) is very attached to him. so there is a lot of drama over his leaving. we are all very sad. plus, the couple buying him wanted a ewe to go with him so they could start breeding. so we had to send our beautiful buttercup with him. which is also sad. plus buttercup left behind the other ewe & buttercup’s six month old lamb. so everyone, me–iggy–& all the sheep–have been crying since yesterday when luke & buttercup left.
good news. they are going to live on pasture of a small farm & get to have babies. the other options for sheep aren’t as nice. so i am happy they are going somewhere nice…but feel like a penniless jerk because i am unable to give them a home–forcing them into the scary move & causing all the other sheep (& iggy) to be sad.
but i keep thinking of winter & all the hay i need to buy…plus not wanting to “deal” with lambs when they get to a certain age & i can no longer put off the inevitable….
i’m just in over my head.
with four very demanding minions & a yard full of animals to take care of….
i have pages written & two more canvas ideas…plus! one night while unable to sleep–i started writing more moses jones!! i have been stalled on that since, what, april?
so i’m taking my journal with me to a car maintenance appointment & will try to get pages done/mojo plot written.
when i became pregnant for the first time,
i was dismayed to learn it was a boy.
“i don’t know anything about boys!” i thought.
then i had another boy.
and finally i was pregnant with my girl
“i don’t know anything about girls either!”
i used to call myself–gender confused.
this was in the early 90s before gender
was much discussed.
but i knew from the time i was five
i had both in me–boy & girl.
i also had neither…
only to realize this when i became a mother
to boys & a girl.
so like everything else, i winged it
i just raised them as people
people i respected & loved
people free to develop into whomever
they were born to be.
i remember when fidgit started playing with
trucks & guns
“i guess he is a boy,” i said,
maybe stereotyping a bit
but later, he grew his hair long
got his ears pierced
and started studying art.
still a boy, i could think.
but my girl…
she is a girl like i was never a girl
and i want to celebrate that.
but i cried today as i shopped for her
seventh birthday present
a children’s play make-up kit
but i know it will make her happy
just like every time i bought a play sword for my crazy boys
& their dad looked at me like, “really?”
here’s the thing
i want my kids to be happy
i want them to be who they are
even if it is not who i am….
that’s the tricky part about being a parent, i guess…
one of the tricky parts anyway.
the photo is me in my early 20’s. fighting gender norms has always been very important to me–especially since as a teenager i found i was more comfortable in my dad’s clothes than i was in mine. i have never worn make-up (except on halloween) & i do not own a pair of heels. but now i have a daughter who drools over thrift-store pumps & uses an art marker to apply lipstick…which some people do. some people like pumps & make-up…i’ve just never been one of them. so maybe it stings a little that my little apple is falling rolling away from the tree? but if it is who she is & will make her happy….
heaven help me if she decides to start shaving her legs.