I’ve been writing a post for a week in my head, scattered across my brain like elastics on a nightstand. Visualize the crumpled paper surrounding me as furiously I write. Or rather, envision the multiple “draft” posts hanging around behind this one.
I’ve spent this week, blissful quiet at my boyfriend’s house, tucked away in the middle of nowhere, home to more potatoes and tractors than people. I’ve stuffed the cloistered maws of the wood stoves, played with his new kitten, cooked and cleaned and played entirely too much Civ IV. I’ve taken baths before he comes home from work, drank too much rye, stared into the gorgeously setting sun out his front window as the kitten purred itself to sleep.
I’ve spent the better part of a week inside my head, testing. Could I live alone? Could I wake mornings with only my voice calling, with perhaps a cat entwining itself in my ankles? Could I conceive of someday making a home again, alone? Could I walk away from the live I have now, and start fresh as I’ve been pondering.
I think now that I can.
Granted, this has not been “alone” by any means. My love came home to me each night, was with me in the morning as he blinked through the alarm and I snuggled farther down in the Brunswick sheets. But this has been close to the blank page of a life I missed out on, and desperately crave.
Maybe I’m a bad mother to imagine myself away from my children, in the capable hands of their father. Maybe I’m a fool for wanting to just pass the house keys over to him, take my books and my bed and flee. Maybe I’m a rotten person since none of this bothers me. Maybe I’ve been listening to The Suburbs too much, and I’m missing something that never was.
Maybe I just want to be happy.
I have felt more content this week than I have in years. Not because I’m with the man I love-but despite that. Because I feel like this week, I have heard my voice, and my mind more than I’ve been able to in nearly forever. I’ve had a chance to breathe, let my heart open, face head on the decision I need to make, and soon. I’ve been settled, warm in myself.
I have missed this feeling, if I ever knew it before.
I keep asking myself, “Do you want them? Are they best with you?” and the answer I keep coming up with is a pensive, lonely
I’m not happy with them. I’m snarky, I’m tired and pissy, I’m resentful and sometimes I think I’m just plain mean. I am tired of sacrificing for them, for the idea of them. I am tired of being someone’s mother. But then, the sheer weight of culture sits upon my shoulder and yells “omfgIcannotBELIEVEyou’reeventhinkingthis! BAD MOMMY! BAD!”
and suddenly, you know, I’m back to when Ros was a baby and all I wanted to do was die or at least give her away so I could go back to how things were, before and now I can’t help but wonder if I had the right idea then? I can feel my feet firm in that skin, circa April 2005, and it’s scary because it’s almost like I knew, on some level I knew-
I just can’t do it.
I open my facebook and see the updates of an old friend, more of an acquaintance now really. She’s recently had her first child, a boy, and while I’m over the moon happy for her, I’m almost sullenly jealous. Her pictures, her updates, her eyes-it’s the life I wanted, and just…couldn’t grasp or create or let happen. She’s happy with him, her husband is happy with him and I can’t help but feel rage over the fact that I never had that weightless joy with my children or family. I remember anger,and hurt, yelling, confusion, But not much joy, none that I didn’t force feed and squeeze every inch out of.
I wanted that so badly, I see that now. But I just couldn’t. And now, with no more children ever, it will never happen and fuck me if I’m not mourning that loss now too. Or again.
I did it all wrong. And somehow I feel like since I can’t do it right, my version of right, then I shouldn’t be doing it at all. I miss the mother, the woman, the person I should have been.
They deserved better after all. Or at least, less yelling.
It’s fucking scary, you know? The thought of moving, leaving the city for another, taking the few things I give a shit about and just going. The nearly revelatory idea of a mother being the parent who sees them for a few weeks in the summer, the odd weekend here and there, sending money every two weeks, and a little extra for birthdays and holidays.
I wonder (frequently, and out loud, to the chagrin of my lover I’m sure) if this urge to leave isn’t intricately linked to the fact that I would have been about Vivian’s age when my mother got sick, and I’m rapidly approaching the point where I have no idea how to parent, and all I know from that age is fear and loneliness and attempts to be brave. I’m scared that I’m letting my past define these changes, that my fear, my aching terror is something I’m going to do to them myself, that I’m going to leave them, and this time it’s going to be on purpose and fuck me it’s going to hurt them no matter what and there isn’t enough poetry in the world to soothe this one…
or maybe, their father will be all the things I cannot be, and can take the slack for awhile, hold the reins, and someday, things will be better and easier and I’ll know the answers by rote.
A year ago he left me, or us. I had been planning on leaving him, and he beat me too it, or had bigger cajones, I’m not sure. But this week, a year ago, is when he physically left me, and I closed my front down and crumpled and sobbed my dreams out of me. A broken record, a poor plan, the fucked up shards of a life I had to put back together. And here I am a year later, planning my own leave taking, him back in the house he never wanted with the kids we never planned for. My eyes on a future blind again, no right path, no safety.
No net. But no shackles either.