Monday, March 3, 2014
It's All Just A Phase. Or A Stage. Whatever
I'm a little teary right now but not in a bad way. I'm tired and I just talked to Jessie on the phone and I was so loathe to hang up. She'll be here in three days and I can't wait but I know I have to share her with the world and that's all right too. On Friday night we're all gathering, the whole family, and it will be so good to have us all together under one roof again. But it crossed my mind as we were talking and laughing on the phone that yes, I am myself again. I am present, as Bill Murray said. I am not 99% hiding in a cave of panic with 1% leftover to deal with the world, even the ones I love most in it.
Which is just a horrible feeling.
But that is not how it is now. I can be here, not just for others, but for myself too. What a gift! What a true and monumental gift.
It's been a good day despite the fact that Gibson is continuing on his path to becoming two with great and dedicated ferocity. It's such a shock! He has always been the most easy-going of children. Just absolutely a delight and always easily comforted if he's unhappy, eager to go along with whatever adventure lies before us. But now I guess he's figured out that he does have the power to make choices and HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT HE WANTS AND IT MAKES HIM CRAZY and he is not suffering in silence. Lily is handling it with aplomb and tender dispassion. She is such a good mother and she remembers Owen going through this stage and knows it will pass. Meanwhile I, even with all of my experience and practice, feel as if I must do something to make him happy. But this is the way I am. When we were in Target today, I heard a newborn crying and it made me feel completely panicked. Not in the anxiety-way but in the a-human-baby-is-crying-and-something-must-be-done way. I finally told Lily, "If someone doesn't do something about that baby I am going to go stick my own boob in her mouth."
I did not. And eventually the baby stopped crying but I am wired to want babies and children to be happy, to be comfortable, to be fed and content.
And so when Gibson is absolutely inconsolable, it jangles me. He gets over it and then he's his good-natured little boy self again but while it's going on, MerMer is somewhat beside herself.
My beloved therapist once told me that she had a theory that children in families like to play good-cop/bad-cop. That one of the children will always be the troublesome one, and another child will be the easy one. And that they can switch these roles instantly.
I agree. And Owen is being a very, very good boy right now. Which...thank god!
I have to brag on him for a second. We went to his pediatrician's office for him to get a shot. He's about to sign up for Pre-K and he needs his shots. And he knew he was getting a shot. He got one last week. And yet, he was cool as a cucumber all during the long wait and when it came time, he got up on the table and covered his eyes and let it happen with absolutely no fussing or wailing or crying at all.
Not one bit.
He was mostly curious about it.
And when it was over he asked me, "Mer, are you proud of me?"
And I said, "I am not just proud of you, Owen. I am AMAZED."
And I was telling him the truth.
He didn't throw any fits in Target. He knew what his mama was buying him as a reward for being a good boy (some no-name Playdough in the dollar section) and although he was a bit mesmerized when we passed the toys, he didn't demand anything. He didn't plead or cry or beg.
So there is that.
And when we were through with our lunch which we ate outside, Owen went back into the restaurant all by himself and got us to-go containers for our leftovers. He is growing up so fast. As is Gibson. Oh, it is so hard to be two! I promise you- that boy would not be so loud about his displeasure if it were not valid. I know that.
He fell asleep in the car on our way back to Lily's and after I'd transferred all my stuff to my own car and had kissed Owen and was kissing Lily good-bye, I said, "Call me when this phase is over."
I was sort of joking.
"It's really not so bad," she said. "He only does this five or ten times a day.
And we both laughed. When Owen started going through this, Lily had just gotten pregnant with Gibson and that's when she was beside herself. "If I had ever known he was going to be like this, I never would have gotten pregnant in the first place!" she said then. But here we are and Owen is a fine four-year-old and Gibson is just taking his turn and so it goes.
But as I said, it's been a good day and well, here's some news- I am going to have two short stories published soon by Shebooks. I haven't talked about it because
(a) I didn't want to jinx anything, and
(b) When it all came to pass, I was in the middle of my worst mental anguish and it really didn't register with me that it was truly going to happen.
But I got an actual real check in the mail from them today so I suppose they are serious.
I feel...like an imposter.
It's very difficult to explain but that's how I feel. I don't even know how to talk about it right now. I am beyond grateful and I suppose in a way, it justifies something. Sort of. I joked to Jessie that now I am, as the little girl told her daddy about her mama's new boyfriend in the wonderful movie, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" bona fide.
But it doesn't feel like that.
I have had a life of being able to do mostly what I wanted to do for love. Which makes me incredibly fortunate. And yet, has never allowed me to feel as if anything I do is worth being paid for.
This is a conundrum, in a way.
And of course I've had jobs but even those were extremely low-paying and I did them because I believed in them more than for the necessity of earning a paycheck, except when I was much younger. And my husband has told me thousands of times that if I did not do what I do, he could not do what he does to support us.
Which I will never believe. I know that plenty of women (most women!) have done what I've done and worked outside the home, too.
And raised beautiful, functional children and maintained fine relationships with their partners, and, and, and...
Wait. What am I talking about here?
Oh yeah. I am going to be paid for a bit of writing I did and people will be able to download my e-book from online and that's a good thing.
Of course I'm pretty sure that ones and ones of people will be ordering it and that Shebooks will come to its senses and demand their money back but that's just me.
I remember when I had fire in my belly and finished my first novel and how beat-down I got about the whole process of trying to get published and I guess I've sort of let that dream die. And then other dreams have come true and grandchildren have come along and to be quite frank, my need to write, which goes way beyond my love for it, has been satisfied quite beautifully here on the blog. I have written for love and I have been repaid in love. A thousand-fold.
Oh well. I'm done talking about it for now.
Mr. Moon just called and he's made it to Orlando safely and the baby chicks are happy and thriving and my grandsons are good and healthy and all of my children will be under my roof for awhile, at least, in a few days, and I am tired but will be able to get such good sleep tonight.
Here's the clip from O Brother, Where Art Thou? about being bona fide and it reminds me that I really should watch that movie again.
I don't really feel bona fide but what the hell? That check will cover a few days in Mexico if I don't count shopping. And that is a very fine thing.
I will take it with gratitude and much bewilderment.