I was walking from my parked car with my mind still spinning at the quick pace I maintain when doing things like unloading Colette and all of her accessories from my car. Have mercy, do babies need accessories. I used to judge moms while thinking, just have less stuff, people in Africa don’t need all of this (always a sound and educated argument, or whatever). It was our first beach trip, which meant walking down the boardwalk while she slept in her stroller. She is still easily over stimulated because of all that time in a temperature, light controlled 10x10 room, so we’re taking it easy on the new experiences. I turned the corner to arrive on the boardwalk, looked out at the sparkling water for the first time in almost seven months and it hit me. I felt really happy.
For the past month since coming home, I have felt really flat. I felt a lot in the hospital but in bizarre soul wrecking ways, then after there was nothing. I'm coming back to normal and realizing how mixed up I was. I feel like I'm just now thawing out. The expectation was to be all mended once the hospital was over. I thought that with a rush, the moment we walked out of the hospital, I could be back to myself. I didn’t expect residual effects to creep into my new life at home. I don’t think I quite understood the toll the last 5 months had taken on me.
Are you surprised by my surprise? Me too. The self is the hardest to see I guess.
This is why my celebration felt off. I could be walking down our street with Colette in her stroller doing exactly what I had dreamed of for all those months in the hospital, I would look around me and think, I’m so happy - just think it. It was completely cognitive. I hadn’t had that tingly feeling I get when I think about all the things that could be, like a fun trip, or a good new book, or dinner with friends. I never felt completely relaxed the way I used to when I took a bath or did yoga. I never felt energized from a good run or accomplishing all my goals for the day. I just felt flat. I had the memory of the feelings from these experiences so I would paste the knowledge of the correlating feelings on and figured all was normal, except a little not normal.
But today at the beach I felt the first whiff of real joy. I’m coming back to myself, my new self anyways. The last couple of years did some things to me that will always be. In all the joy I’ll eventually return to, there will always that temporality. I don’t think I’ll forget how fragile it all is, or how likely it is that we’ll hit tragedy and pain again. So celebration will always be for this moment. Second, I’ll always think of those who never got bailed out. I had significant pain, but for the most part I have had relief. Colette survived with little lifelong repercussions so I’m healing from a bad experience that ended. But others have to heal without the relief of circumstances. I think about that all the time. I think about how one day that will be me.
On a lighter note I have more oranges on my tree than there is champagne in the world and what else are oranges for? My sourdough starter is barely surviving but I plan to pick up my bread making again. Also, we re-did our bathroom during the hospital stay, because when life is crap why not move into a Best Western Plus for two weeks? But now that we’re finished with our house we’ll take some pictures and show before and after.
Also, I went to the gym and I was remembering the last time I properly ran. It was the day before our IVF appointment to implant the embryo that would become Colette. I remember thinking about how it was the last time I would run with abandon for a while. I had to spend my pregnancy with caution and fear. This was my time back, I could just run as fast as I wanted without concern for anyone else. I could finally let all that anxiety out with deep breaths and aching muscles. I love that feeling. So I did it. I ran a twelve minute mile and almost puked. Wait, what?
Expectations > Reality.
Lastly, I have just begun reading after not picking up a book since Colette was born. I could have read an entire library’s worth of books in the time I sat in the large green hospital chair staring at a wall. I could have learned French. I could have crocheted a blanket the size of a mini-van. But for whatever reason I couldn’t do any of it. So now I need book recommendations. Also, on the list of Obama’s books he recommended for 2017 was A Gentlemen Moscow. Which I read! So it’s like we were in same place. Not at the same time but we were both there. He also liked Chance the Rapper’s, “First World Problems”, which I liked. I’m just gonna say what I’m thinking, Obama would probably like me. Anyways, book recommendations would be great.
P.S. I really want Colette to like being outside but she mostly just squints and gets grumpy at how bright it is. Trever's an indoor guy if you know what I mean. I'll tell you what I mean, he wears suede designer boots and skinny jeans when he goes to the beach. I will not allow Colette be her own person in this regard. She will not inherit indoorsyness. I will force her to like the beach if it's the only thing I do for her, because the main reason I had a kid was so I could have someone to go to the beach with.
P.S.S. As we can all assess per this post, clarity of mind and linear thinking has not yet returned to me. Maybe it's time for a new hobby.