Yesterday was the kind of day that made me want to get in the car, roll down the windows, drive to the beach and sit in the cold sand with the golden winter sun settling lower in the sky, listening to the sober voice of the water crashing rhythmically, telling me it's ok.
But I would have to get Liam all dressed up to go outdoors and pack up food and diapers and the closest oceanfront is a three or four hour drive (I don't have any gas money and I'm almost on E anyway) and I hear the beach is not that nice there anyway. Plus, cold? Apparently Texas forgot what that word means. In January. Oh Texas.
Liam hasn't been sleeping well, which means I haven't been sleeping well. Wednesday night was the worst. I didn't sleep for more than an hour at a stretch. In the morning it was over four hours before he even napped, so with that on top if his poor quality and quantity of sleep the night before, he was extra cranky. Which made me extra cranky.
I don't know where my patience was yesterday. I was told once that I have the patience of God, and that person meant it. I just could not handle my emotions. Or Liam's. My heart was racing, my shoulders were hunched, my teeth were clenched, I was drained.
Liam and I were supposed to go with my friend Mary to shop for her wedding dress but I had to call her and cancel due to his (and my) rather sour disposition. I ended up crying on the phone with her because I was feeling just so exhausted and stressed and terrible. As usual she told me to take a few breaths and try to get some rest and was the voice of reason in my otherwise upside-down day.
I know four hours doesn't seem like a long time- but is when your baby usually doesn't stay awake for more than two hours and at time, and when you didn't even get that much consecutive sleep that night and when your baby, who is usually all smiles and giggles and cuddles and play, finds something wrong with EVERYTHING... diaper changes, being held, not being held, walking around, not walking around, looking at him, not looking at him, EVERYTHING, and lets you know, quite loudly, about it.
It is a long time when your milk has dried up very recently and that feels like I have taken something away from my beautiful boy that I wanted to give him until he was at least a year old. I can tell he misses it because he keeps turning his perfect little face toward my chest when he needs me.
It is a long time when you've been struggling with depression since you were like twelve, and now you have post-partum depression and someone tiny to take care of, and your husband is also struggling with feeling constantly down, and you both hate living where you live and you're constantly broke and you are so down that you can't even clean your own damn house so your mother-in-law does it while you're at work, and your epidural gave you nerve damage and your back's always hurting and numbing and itching, and you just want to sleep, and you still can't believe your milk dried up and you're afraid of the cost of formula and you just want to hold your baby but he just keeps screaming at you, and you keep sobbing and he keeps peeing on himself EVERY TIME YOU CHANGE HIS DIAPER and you feel like you are the worst mom there ever was....
Four hours is a long time.
Finally it was lunch time. I made a bottle for Liam with six ounces of formula in it. I sat on the couch with him and I prayed out loud for strength and patience and peace of mind and for Liam to understand and feel calm and forgive me for not being the mom I think I should be all the time. I looked down at him and he was reaching into the air next to his bottle, moving his fingers like when he holds my hand, and I smiled. I said, "Is there an angel here to help you nap?" and he just kept drinking, his eyelids growing heavy, his arms becoming limp, his body giving into mine and sinking into me. When his bottle was done, he screamed when I took it from his lips, even though I thought he was drowsy enough not to care if I popped his Nuk in. I just had to stand up with him and bounce and rock him a bit and kiss his forehead and he was fast and peacefully asleep, at long last.
Liam napped for three hours, longer than any nap he's had since he was very new. We laid on the couch together and I was able to sleep, on and off, for the final two hours. While I dozed I dreamed of home and the ocean and a big black whale that was swimming near the shore.
When Liam woke up he just laid on his back for a while and talked to the ceiling and played with my fingers while I pretended to still be sleeping. When I sat up to smile and greet him he gave me a sweet, calm, well-rested smile. I kissed his cheeks and forehead and neck and hands and belly, and the rest of the day went better. After getting the rest he/we needed, he/we were in much better moods and better able to enjoy each other's company.
Gabe was late getting home from work because he had to get his oil changed on his way home and stop at Target. And, um, pick up some ice cream for me from Sonic. Until he got home, Liam and I sat on his blanket on the living room floor and just existed together. He was still pretty clingy, but not in a fussy way. He just didn't want to be far from me which is ok. I don't like being far from him either.
He gave me a kiss when I asked him for one. Three times, because I needed it. I knew that he forgave me. Maybe he doesn't understand why I can't always know what he needs, but he does forgive me. He's seven months old. He's a better person than many adults I know.
Today I don't feel great- still really down, I can feel my period coming on, I feel malnourished from hardly eating and really only having junk yesterday- but I am breathing a little easier. Gabe has taken Liam to bed with him and they are sleeping soundly together on the bed. I almost didn't make it through the workday without crying, just because, but I managed.
This was a really long post, I know. And not easy for me to write. But it's the truth. This is me sometimes. I hope I haven't scared all three of my readers off with my crazy-talk.
Just know you're not alone.
This is my Liam on a happier day earlier in the week: