This is going to be messy, and I don't care. I try to write about things that matter to me and might matter to the people who read this blog, but the creative, literary part of me has felt so constipated by I-don't-know-what that I feel as though I'm spinning my wheels and filling this space with shredded bits of rubber and clouds of smoke. So babble I must, and let the chips fall where they may. I don't know whether to talk about Hannah's milestones, document my travels and discoveries, catalog my ventures in vegetarian cooking, or pontificate on my apophatic religious beliefs. I've done all but the latter, purposely avoiding it for fear of offending others and exposing myself as a vitriolic nay-sayer who hasn't learned the first thing about faith and self-discovery in her 25 meager years. To be honest I really don't know what to say any more except that I feel like a failure in every aspect of my life but motherhood - and I've only been at that for a year and a half. Do you ever look at the person you were a year ago? Five years ago? Ten? - and say to yourself man was I an idiot. I'm so glad I'm not THAT person any more. Now how about this: do you ever look at the person you were yesterday and say the same thing?
I'm not looking for sympathy - the solicited "Oh Suzie, you're not a failure." I know I'm not. I just feel that way today. Seriously, WTF am I doing with my life? Where am I going? Who am I really, and who am I trying to be/become? Healthy questions all, but the dissatisfaction I feel in my answers is unnerving. I played the piano today. Scott Joplin. I haven't played in weeks, my excuse being the little baby fingers that wander onto the keyboard whenever I sit down at the bench. She pulls on my elbow during a particularly troubling arpeggio and I throw my hands up in frustration and look down to see the two biggest, shiniest, saddest brown eyes in the universe looking up at me with a betrayal that makes me want to rip my beating heart from my chest and lay it at her feet. I pick up this tiny reflection of myself and set her in my lap, and we play and sing her favorite songs together in perfect pitch.
Keekal Keekal kitty tar,
Howa wadee watee are!
Ah-pa ba dee watoo high,
Yikee daiky iida tai . . .
And somehow, even though I still can't play the C section of the Maple Leaf Rag up to tempo, I'm satisfied. And I remain satisfied until I get an afternoon to myself and gleefully plan my day and think about all the profound things I'm going to write and books I'm going to read . . . and then I crash on my bed and fall asleep because I'm just EXHAUSTED. I wake up feeling like I've been hit by a train, and by then it's already time to pick Hannah up from the sitter's and be a mom again. Wait, hold the phone. Something's wrong here. Be a mom AGAIN? You're always a mom, sister. That doesn't stop when you have the house to yourself with a glass of wine in your hand and all you can think of doing is organizing the past three months of photos you took of your beautiful daughter. Always a mom. That's who you are. And why is that something to be ashamed of? Why do I lower my eyes and drop my voice when people ask "what do you do?" I cook three times a day because I don't want my daughter to eat processed food. I go to the park so she can run in the wind and taste dirt. I teach her important phrases like "kiss please" and "I'm stinky." I make cardboard-cutout refrigerator magnets with pictures of fruits and animals. I sing lullabies and read Dr. Seuss. I step in poop and clean behind ears, brush teeth and pick rice grains out of the carpet. I play Mozart one-handed, a squirming prodigy sitting in my lap. Mother Teresa said "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." I'm no Mama T, but I am Hannah's Mama, and I know that every small thing I do with great love is for the sake of this small, sweet child . . . and that, to me, is great.
On a completely unrelated note, I am absolute bollocks at letter-writing, phone-calling, thank-you-card giving, and good-friend being. What is wrong with me? After a particularly self-absorbed session of the lamentations woe is me and I hate my life the other day, I sifted through a plastic tub of memories - ticket stubs, tourist maps and mile-high piles of notes, letters and hand-drawn pictures that say I love you Suzie. You're the best. Thank you so much. Congratulations. You are beautiful. I also came across this pile:
. . . of well-intended letters and thank-you cards that I've written over the past 2 and a half years - two of which, I'm ashamed to say, are addressed to the same person. I've had a pile like this in every place I've lived, collecting dust and earning "ungrateful" points at an alarming interest rate. The next time you see my mother, just mention "wedding thank you cards" and she'll probably have one tucked away in her purse for you - hand written and signed "Love, Suzie" September 2004. Dang! She found my stash! See I WRITE them, I just forget to GIVE them. Forgetfulness can easily turn to neglectfulness though, and like a bulging diaper that's long in need of a change, I need to do some house cleaning in the gratitude department. I think if I lived my life and treated my relationships with an ounce of the grace the people in those mountains of notes and letters have given me, I might be in better shape right now. A lesson that will repeat throughout my life until it's learned.
So what comes next, you might ask? What'll happen on the other side of the Pacific? I. Don't. Know. I'm terrified of the unknown right now. Maybe that's what's consuming all of my creativity . . . filling in the blanks. I feel like I owe my music another chance when I get back, but I still can't reconcile a completely selfish graduate degree with the economy I'm entering. My talents, few as they are, don't translate well into the professional world. And so I spin my wheels some more.
I'm sorry for this vomitous mess. It was that or another youtube video. I'm sure you understand.