I spilled the salt today. It wasn’t a big deal. I was working on another batch of kale chips and hadn’t made enough room on the counter. The salad spinner was drying on top of a bowl. It shifted and knocked the bag of celtic sea salt to the ground, the partially submerged tablespoon a perfect slide for escaping crystals. I can’t remember what I said – shoot! or ahhhhhhh! or darn. (I work hard to be PG. I used to swear like a sailor). Ada ran downstairs, tripped over her feet and landed in the kitchen with, I’m okay. Mama, why are you frustrated? I laughed and told her I’d spilled the salt but it wasn’t a problem and I’d sweep it up when I was done. Okay, she said and turned to go. Talking to herself I heard, Mama is always frustrated or tired or sad or not happy or not feeling good. I froze, listening. As she started up the stairs, she repeated herself. Mama is always frustrated or tired or sad or not happy or not feeling well.

My stomach hit the floor and tears welled as her reality, the reality of her life in our household for the last year and a half sucker punched me and dropped me to my knees.

I know she feels loved. We play. We laugh together. We draw and do puzzles and cuddle. And yet…and yet. Here is my bright light, the little being I’m doing my best to pull myself together for, holding up a mirror I don’t want to look into. Since January 2010 I’ve been pregnant, miscarrying, hobbled by a broken leg, pregnant, bleeding, nauseous, tired, scared, bed ridden, hospitalized, grieving, healing, sick. There have been months where I couldn’t pick her up, couldn’t walk, couldn’t cook, couldn’t stand, couldn’t play. We sat on the couch and watched Mary Poppins and My Neighbor Totoro, we painted rocks and built sandcastles but for far too long, I couldn’t take her to the park, push her on a swing, chase her on the beach. She’s heard me cry countless times. She already knows death in too intimate a way. As much as I talk about the gifts of the experience – and there were many – it has been brutally hard on all of us.

It’s time for a change.

Today my daughter gave me the kick in the pants I needed. I’ve been wallowing lately, allowing the story of being tired and frustrated to take over. I am a master at getting in my own way, at wanting things to be a teensy-weensy bit different than they are, at resisting joy. I’ve been working on it. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it’s time to stop working and play at life. Play with life.

It’s time for a new story. And until that new story feels solid, I’ll be the one throwing the dance party with my three and a half year old.

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11 Responses to Wallowing

  1. Jessica M. says:

    You deserve to throw that dance party girl! And enjoy every single second of it! (((hugs))) You are a great momma!

  2. Roos says:

    Tears in my eyes. What a lesson Ada had to teach you – and actually did in such a significant way.
    It is because you and Steve are such wonderful parents that she spoke up the way she did. Trust that and start dancing with the three of you!

    p.s. I’ll take Ada’s lesson to heart. Because chances are big that after months and months, my boys will tell me the same. Luckily, we have a birthday party tomorrow 😉 so I’ll make sure to throw in some dancing!

  3. Stereo says:

    I know that must have been hard but you’ve recognised it now and you know that what stretches ahead is bright, sunny and full of fun. Good for you and good for Ada ♥

  4. Christa says:

    Oh. Oh. Oh,

    I know this mixture of guilt and gut and sadness and hope all too well. My own wise girl has pit the spotlight on things more than once, and while I am grateful for Ada’s wisdom and clarity, I feel for you.

    Dance. And welcome to the next stage.

    Love to you all.

  5. Our little lights shine for us..
    even when we wish they would not.
    what a gift you have..

  6. Pamela says:

    Don’t be hard on yourself. You have had a very hard time, and in spite of what life has thrown at you, you have still been there for your little girl. That is so brave!!

    I love how you are going to play. Have fun and enjoy because you deserve joy – for you and not just for Ada. How much better that Ada has seen you grieve than if you had held it all inside. That would have been far more painful for her.


  7. Cynthia says:

    growing every minute….

  8. keishua says:

    what a great post. I can tell you want what is best for your daughter. If I had one, I know that I would feel the same. I would want her to be free, happy and confident. All the things that I was not a child. I think it is possible for your daughter to be all those things and more. You love her and she feels it. That’s the greatest foundation in the world!
    Have fun dancing!!

  9. Tiffany says:

    Bless you, you sound like a wonderful & conscious mother! Go throw that dance party!’

  10. Cindy Maynard says:

    I think you’re seeing the first rays of light at the end of this very dark and scary tunnel called babyloss. How I wish you weren’t part of this club.

    Love and light and always rembering sweet and perfect Benjamin.


  11. Trena says:

    Even more proud of you

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