It was the best of times…

At one point I was going to post here about postpartum bliss.  So much is said about postpartum depression these days (rightfully so, information is so very important), that I think I was a little startled to find myself experiencing the exact polar opposite; inexplicable, deeply abounding, over-whelming joy, even in the face of unpleasantness.  Kids yelling, roof falling down around our ears, up to our eyeballs in laundry, me smiling serenely and telling my bewildered husband how much I love our family, make my heart beat funny exultation.  It’s there still, in glimpses here and there, precious, perfect, fleeting moments.

And then there is the other side of the coin, more pressing just now, stifling at times.  I have the capacity for such great joy, in a family that I love, in a life that I love, housed in a building that I love, settled in a landscape that I love….trapped in a body that often seems determined not to let me enjoy any of it.  Everyone has their sad stories, their struggles.  I know this.  And I also know there are stories far worse then mine.  Nightmare-ish existences that cause me to bow my head and give thanks for everything I have, every single day.  But I also doubt that every person out there reading this right now has a folder on the desktop of his or her computer titled “if I die”, full of letters to their children.  This is a big chunk of my life right now.  Testing my genes, testing my heart, testing my brain, testing my mother (!) testing, testing, testing.  All in the hopes that the next test or the next expert might be able to tell me whether or not it’s likely that I could drop dead at a moments notice with no warning.  So there’s that.  How worried should I be?  I don’t really know.  And no one else seems to either.  I rarely talk about it and I often play it down if it’s ever brought up, but secretly I worry.  I worry a lot.  A little about me I guess, but mostly I worry about them.

I try to put it all aside in my mind when I can.  At night when I lay awake trying to plan contingency on contingency for a time when I might not exist, I remind myself to put a hand on Steve’s chest or back or arm, sleeping beside me steady and real and here right now and his warmth and the beating of his heart calms me.  When I feel well physically it’s easier to forget.  Much easier.  I live in the moment and those snippets of indescribable transcendent joy flicker in and out on waves of laughter.  When I’m unwell, a shadow falls over everything, lost in a fog of fear, worry and pain.  It helps to accomplish things- to move forward in life despite everything.  Only often when I do those types of things, I end up paying in pain later on and being smothered in the fog yet again.

Sometimes our life is lush gardens, the softest of ballet slipper pink yarn, heart to hearts in a room full of hand drawn horses, a 5 year old little girl digging up weeds on the side of the road to plant in our yard, home made pie cooling on the counter next to a bouquet of old-fashioned cottage garden flowers.  And sometimes it’s laying awake at night staring at the ceiling worrying that no one else will remember the trick to taking away the pain of a bee sting or what to do when someone wakes with a leg cramp in the night.  Agonizing over where to leave a letter for my husband, so that he’ll see it when he needs it, but not before and what to even say?  What will he need to hear in that moment?  Wondering how long it would take a baby who’s never known anything other then nursing to sleep in her mama’s arms to give up and accept that mama’s not coming back.  Our life is all of those things.

I haven’t been posting much here lately.  We’ve been busy.  I’ve been tired.  Sometimes it’s just too much effort to write and sometimes I don’t want to waste my good day or good hour in front of a computer.  But I also think that part of it is that I’ve been afraid.  Afraid that if I started typing all of this might come pouring out and what then?  When I realized that, I decided I should just own up to it and move on.  I created this blog during a rough patch when I needed to stop and see the good in life.  Posting here helps me.  It’s like a narrowing of focus, a meditation on all of the many things I have to be grateful for.  I don’t know how often I’m going to find the time and space to post in the future, but I want to be sure I have the option to do so unfettered.


7 thoughts on “It was the best of times…

  1. Amy

    This is beautifully written. Your blog always inspires me to look for the beautiful parts of life. I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless you and your family.

  2. Corina

    Wow, this is an amazing, beautiful, courageous and vulnerable blog post. Thanks for sharing it. I can so relate to it in several ways. I, too, blog to remind myself of the blessings in my life, because sometimes, I just can’t see the positive amidst all the chaos, fear, and anguish of life. My son was diagnosed with a rare disease right after my third child was born. It left him with a heart aneurysm and the danger of internal bleeding because of the meds he had to take. What a nightmare for everyone involved, including me as his mother and primary caregiver. It brought up a lot of these dark feelings and fears you talk about. What if he dies? What if I die? It’s all so scary.
    Good for you to own up to the fears, and expressing them here in this safe space you have created. It helps a little, voicing it all, but it doesn’t make it all less terrifying.
    I’m sending you lots of love and light, knowing you have the tools to deal with the emotional ups and downs, and most importantly, that you are enveloped in a family filled with love.

  3. Katurah

    My children are older now, no longer infants and toddlers, my blog quietly retired. Just last week I was diagnosed with POTS after a lifetime of wondering why I am the way I am– what is wrong with me, why can’t I just push through. And there are other things left unexplained and unexplored, but that is really neither here nor there. I am sorry I have not commented here, but simply lurked. And now I wish I had, but at any rate, today I can thank you for your words, because I find in them bright glimmers of recognition. Maybe this is in itself the greatest gift; this inability to take the ordinary of everyday for granted. Sending you love and gratitude.

  4. Melissa

    I just wrote a short novel of a comment that has disappeared into the ether. I have read it seems forever..but am mostly quite. Please be well…please feel well. Your family has filled your quota of difficult. My thoughts of peace from worry are flying to you from the west coast of Canada.

  5. ellieandbinks

    I am so sorry for the issues you are having. You have created a testament to your love for your children and husband right here…it’s obvious to the world how much you love and adore them. I pray that you will be well again and in the mean time, find some peace for your thoughts.

  6. Alexa

    You are such a strong, amazing mama – I enjoy reading about your family and your love for all of your ‘littles’ and husband glows through your words! Sending love from the Pacific Northwest, hope that peace enters and worries leave.

  7. kim schildbach

    It’s been so long since we’ve seen or talked to each other and just today you came into my heart and I found your blog (again). My prayers and love spring forth to greet you!!
    I hope we will bump into each other at the Holiday Fair. Just know that this writing that you have done has touched me deeply. Our year was a tough one.

    Hoping to catch up soon. Love and kisses to you and yours.

    Kim Schildbach :) xxxooo

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