How many times in the last year have I been asked “How do you do it?” My stock answer is I just do. I don’t have a choice.
But I guess I do have a choice. I have the choice to do or not to do. Yoda. There isn’t a middle ground. Some days I’m okay. Some days (like today) I do really, remarkably well. You wouldn’t know it by looking in my window at the moment but it was a really productive day. I took 2 van loads to Goodwill (Ella asks, “Mommy, why are you leaving all our stuff on the steps?” , cleaned out the garage so that, tomorrow, I can take in the recycling and took dinner to some friends with a new baby daughter.
Sidenote: I totally have baby fever. I’m practically dehydrated from all the drooling I did over a wee babelet of only 4 weeks old. The grunts. The smell. The little fingers…somebody stop me from nibbling them just a little bit. And while I got a little taste of holding a newborn and armchair parenting a 2 year old and 4 year old, I have to say that I was a tiny bit glad that I won’t be up in the middle of the night…
When I mumble my stock answer, the response from the questioner is “That’s right…you have to go on…you have those little girls to think about.” Yep you’re right. I think about how I have to pay a stranger to teach my kid to swim instead of having her daddy do it. I read Time magazine and mull over the concept of the Purity Ball and think that even if I thought it was a good idea (which I don’t; I find it terribly creepy) my girls will just have to wait for prom to dress up like they are 10 years older than their actual age.
I take offense to the whole Purity Ball thing. My girls don’t have a dad. Does that doom them to a pubescence of sex, drugs and rock and roll? Will sixteen year olds take advantage because Ella doesn’t wear a ring that her dad gave her to remind her of who her heart belongs to? Will Amelia become a lot lizzard because she craves male attention? That’s kind of what these “Clubs” are implying. Yeah, I think my girls will be fine, thanks.
What if, one day, I don’t want to do it? What if I want to spend the day in bed? What if I don’t want to do it for the girls? What if I don’t want to keep going? Not forever. This isn’t a cry for help or anything. But I never really got a day, you know. Those days of wallowing in my own grief (like in Practical Magic) and having my girls snap me out of it. Or having my sister or someone else that I love but never get to see just show up and rescue me from my own self-pity. What if that’s how I want to spend a day? Nobody asked me that. Nobody says, “take all the time you need” or “let me help you, I know just what to do.”
What if I could spend a whole day devoted to Stephen’s memory? What if I could get someone to listen to that? What if I could spill everything and empty my heart for one day? Would I be able to fill it again? Would I want to?