Journal, July 2000 Jul01

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Journal, July 2000

Journal, July 2000Packing up to go to my mother’s for Easter – I wonder, do I have enough cigarettes for a day with her?

“Do you hate your mother?” my son Marko asks.

“No,” I say too quickly, “No, I just don’t want to be her.”

“You won’t,” he assures me. “You’re not crazy.”

Oh, yeah, I am, I think, I’m just kinder.

The Little Engine That Could

I remember being surrounded by babies, Fuss, three, potty trained and feeding herself – Hooray!

Marko, still in diapers, but he could handle a fork and a tippy cup.

Matthew in the crook of my arm, where someone has been for the last three years.

Day to day I struggle not to be overcome.

Days and nights seem to have run together since Fuss was born. I nap when they do – and out juice and snacks, change diapers, clean house, clean babies. I don’t think about tomorrow. I don’t think about today.

I plan nothing – meet their needs, smell their hair, watch their eyes and their smiles.

To my husband, we are a mystery:  how my body changes and then reappears and changes again.  Feeding them from my breast, cooing, soothing, rocking, juggling, laughing, crying.

He’s more a spectator than a participant. I think he’s afraid of them, although he loves to hold Fussy.  He says, My Marko, a lot, and I think, no, mine.

I know he is more and more afraid of me. Not afraid as in I’d harm him, but perhaps at what could come next. He says things I think incredible: “I’m just an average Joe,” to explain his lack of ambition and I find it telling about his lack of self worth.

When he tells me he wants a divorce from me and the kids I’m stunned – not at the divorce part – I’ve known that was coming since the day I married him.  The part about divorcing the kids.

His explanation that he’s a young guy just sounds stupid, and then he adds, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. He says ‘aheadame’ and sounds Italian again.

We are your whole life, I think, and when you understand that, we won’t care anymore. We’ll fill the space that you leave with love and when you try to get it back, we won’t have any room for you.  Or any need.

I rocked a million miles in those years and I got even more comfort from holding those babies than I gave. I’d sing and whisper a prayer for us and rock away the nightmares, the fears, the demons that haunted me.

I’d still sit and hold a baby as long as it would let me  for the peace I find there.