Parenting makes me purposeful. I sit on the floor to read or play and I place myself with purpose. I align my back and cushion where needed, prepared to stay as long (or as short) as necessary. I am more aware now. I pay attention to where I lay us in bed, careful to leave enough space for her to roll away and still be safe. I am purposeful with my words, aware in my actions, knowing little eyes are watching and learning in every moment. I do not try to escape this monumental undertaking; I do not shy away from this methodical living. It is necessary and important for safety and wellness and health of all forms.
I am very often sad or anxious lately. The anxiety comes and goes, sharp and ferocious and then gone, but the sadness lingers. It becomes an undercurrent of which I am only sometimes aware, but which dictates the direction in which I flow. While I am a purposeful swimmer when it comes to parenting Mabel, in the rest of my life I have begun to simply float where the current takes me. My epiphany this morning (during laundry, how cliche) is that this current is not my friend.
While I am forever asking and answering questions as a parent – Is the sun too hot? Is she safe with that toy? Will she be alright on the ground? Why is she crying? – I realize that I have stopped doing so as a person. This is not an acceptable state of being, especially for a being in distress.
I wake up. I notice I am sad. I lay still and think, “I am still sad. It feels so heavy. Something is very wrong. I wish xyz would happen so this sadness could be fixed. The baby is stirring. She’s awake. Go away sadness, I have to be a Mom now.”
Two things. First, I am not a compartmentalized person. I cannot be a sad person between the hours of 6 pm and 5 am, when I am not solely responsible for Mabel’s care and well being, and a stable and healthy parent the rest of the time.
Second, there is no purpose in those thoughts. There is no awareness, no method. There is only blind acceptance, of what is not an acceptable long term reality, and blame.
If she hadn’t….I wouldn’t be feeling such anxiety.
If he would only…I wouldn’t feel so sad.
It doesn’t matter what I fill in those blanks with, those statements are not true. The answers to what is wrong within me do not lay without.
Why am I sad? What is this emotion surrounding? What does it feel like when I allow it to be felt? Is there an action I can take that will help alleviate this feeling? If so, what is it? Why aren’t I taking it? Do I want to feel better? Do I need to feel sad? What am I feeling anxious about? What lies am I believing? What is the truth? What am I hiding from?
I know the questions. I know the method to wellness. I have steadfastly and adamantly refused both, whether consciously or not. Perhaps I have needed this time. I can allow for that possibility, but it is needed no longer.
My husband needs me, my friends need me, my house needs me…I need me.
And so it is time to sit with the scary questions and find out their quiet answers. It is time to be well again.
Because, really, why not?