Major Life Shifts

There were some kids at the playground today who have no problem talking to adults; you know the kids I mean? They’ve been raised by parents who treat them as equals, usually homeschooled, and they believe their thoughts have just as much value as anyone else’s regardless of age or stature. These kinds of kids are amazing, always blow my mind, always make me want to be around them and keep me on track to have my children grow up like them. At any rate, there were these kids at the playground today and we got to talking.

“What would you name your kid if you had another baby boy?” she asked.

“Oh, I can’t have any more kids. I had a surgery called tubal ligation that’s also called having your tubes tied and it made it so I can’t have any more kids,” I replied.

“But if you could, if you found out you were having another baby, what would you name him?” she asked again.

“I don’t know. I’m not really good with names,” I answered.

I could tell she wasn’t satisfied with my reply. I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it either but it’s true: I’m terrible with names. I had a dog named Boy. I had a fish named Blanca. I am not the queen of unique and awe inspiring names. But my dissatisfaction was more than that. Because lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. It comes from so many places, but mainly seems to be a convergence of the knowledge that I am currently nursing my last baby, there will not be another and I need to savor this time, as well as the feeling that this will never end and I will never have a life that doesn’t revolve around a booby vampire.

Which is ridiculous. I acknowledge and accept that it is ridiculous. It is also how I feel (and yes, I also recognize that incredibly long sentence does not constitute a “feeling”).

There’s this thing happening around me to the people I love, they are all experiencing major life shifts: divorce, publishing their memoir, buying their forever home, losing their partner to death. Major life shifts. And I feel like it’s all passing me by, there are no major life shifts for me. On the one hand: hooray! I don’t have to deal with all the stress (or excitement) of a major shift. On the other hand: eek! My life has stalled and I’m only forty.

Oversimplifying, untrue, and ungrateful. My life is amazing and I am very grateful: I have a husband I adore after never thinking I would ever want to be married, I have two children who are all things epic in this world after giving up hope that I’d ever have children, we have a roof over our heads, food in our kitchen, vehicles to get us where we want to go, the very best dog in the world, and a sauna to help us live forever. If I were to write the story of my life it would be terribly boring because there’s nothing to complain about.

And yet….

We all have things that get to us about our lives even when our lives are the kinds that other people would trade us for. It’s natural. When my first was born and we were having the most unbelievable nightmare of a time with his poor colicky self, when the first four months were quite literally a hell and neither my husband or I were getting any sleep and we heard phantom crying in the rare moments when the baby wasn’t actually crying, when we were deep in the trenches of this miracle we’d been gifted I posted something online about how I wasn’t sure when or if I would ever sleep or shower or leave the house again and one person replied to me that I should stop complaining because I’d wanted this and brought it on myself.

And while that tells you everything you need to know about that person (ie: they have zero sense of empathy and are highly likely an -ic personality of some sort), it also does something else. It tells you, or in this case me, that if I ever want anything ever again I can’t voice it or I’ll never be able to ask for empathy from anyone who knew what I wanted if the wanting once delivered is in any way sour. It effectively silences me.

Should the white privileged cisgendered woman who has everything be silenced? Probably, yes. There are too many of us talking when we ought to be listening. I get that. And also, no one should ever be silenced. We all have a right to be heard and more than that, we need to be heard, we need to be understood, we need to have someone say “holy shit, mama, that’s some craziness, I’m so sorry you’re going through that. Is there anything I can do to help? Want me to bring you dinner?”

And that’s all I’m thinking about when I’m talking to this sweet girl who wants to know what I’d name the baby I can’t have. The baby I don’t want, because I’m forty and I already have two kids, and I feel like there’s still so much I want to do with my life but it’s all on hold until these two beautiful humans have grown up enough to not need me, and I don’t want them to grow up and not need me because they are everything to me even as I need them to stop needing me so I can make some major life shifts happen even though they are the major life shift that is happening, and so we go round and round and round the crazy that is my head.

I recognize that most of the people who follow my blog do so for the fiction content. I appreciate that. I really do. I also hope y’all don’t mind these occasional forays into my life. There are just some nights where I sit down to do my one hour of writing and no one wants to come talk to me. The characters are silent. But my brain is bursting with whatever event occurred that day that I haven’t dealt with yet or whatever feelings came up that I haven’t worked through yet, and those days…if I try to write fiction I end up writing this tripe I can’t even handle writing it’s so awful. So thank you, I appreciate you, and the fiction will be back (but not tomorrow night cause tomorrow is the end of the month and I need to do the monthly NYR re-cap).

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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