We used to have a block print poster above the desk in the office, before the office became our daughters' bedroom, of a monkey holding a firecracker, his mouth wide open as though he were about to toss it down his throat to his stomach, in which roared a fire. In the left bottom corner were the words: "to be okay"; and in the bottom right corner: "everything's going."
"To be okay -- everything's going."
Intentionally ambiguous. Was everything going to be okay? Or, to make everything okay, did everything have to go?
It's been over two weeks of not even one complete REM cycle due to one or the other of my daughters' chest-cold-aggravated night-time asthma, two weeks of long extra hours for Skip at work, two weeks of both girls testing the power of whining and screaming, last week's spring break for Kay's preschool, this past week my mother's out-of-town vacation, a week of new computer-on-the-blink frustrations, yesterday's throwing out my back, and -- tonight -- an overdue date night thwarted by Kay's onset of the stomach flu...
I'm tired. And, I'm surviving. Tonight, that sort of leaves me in awe.
I'm not super-human. I've been crankier than usual the last few days. I've yelled at my kids to the point of needing to reassure them that I was out of line and that I know they're just being kids and that I love them just as they are. My meals have been big and sloppy, spilling over into terrain I've been able to avoid for nearly 9 months. I feel a little depressed and prone to isolation.
I'm not proud of any of this -- but I'm not mistaking it, either, as anything other than ordinary human frailty, and in that process forgiving myself enough to be able to stay within my own skin. To be here. To ride it. To let myself feel and enjoy the moments of hilarity, pleasure, and comfort, even amid discomfort and unease. To keep large meals from becoming coma-inducing binges or an excuse to eat foods I know will trigger such a binge. To remember to be kind to myself.
That's a new thing in my history as a mother. And it's amazing. I love it.
Coming through -- I seem to be.