I tucked the toddler into her bed, gave her a book, turned on the light. "See you later, mommy, I read now," she said to me as I left the room, glad she was happy whether she intended to sleep or not.
I put some raisin bread in the toaster oven and grabbed some peanut butter for second lunch, darting around and picking up the kitchen as it toasted. As I gobbled the sandwich (lost another pound this week, thanks Giant Tiny Baby), I sent out a few tweets, and was deciding whether to write or sleep just as my laptop blue screened. Again. Well then. I didn't have anything to say anyway.
Grabbed a book to curl up on the couch with me and hopefully escort me into oblivion for a little while, where I could shake my grumpiness, my worries about nap schedules, about rolling, about potty training, about dishes and laundry, where I could become the kind of mom who did something other than sitting on the couch watching TV and surfing the Internet for 3.5 straight hours.
And then the baby started screaming.
My heart and stomach both sinking to my feet, I picked her up from her car seat (the car ride had put the wrong kid to sleep) and went back to the couch.
You know what? I thought. I'm still doing this.
So, I lay on the couch, curling my body around her, side-lie nursing and reading my (Jenny's) copy of Carry on Warrior, and started to sob.
At first I wasn't sure what was happening. My body was shaking but I wasn't making any noise. I felt the tears on my chin before I thought to myself Hey, self, I'm crying.
And, y'know, that was okay.
I finished the essay I was reading, and lay there a little while longer, my body continuing to heave out all the sadness, all the hard, all the frustration and disappointment and longing. I pressed my lips to the satiny skin of the tiny sleeping person who looks like me (even more than the other one really).
I wanted to jump up, to tweet about it, to eat something, to go for a run, to fold my laundry, to do anything but be there, present in that moment of excruciating beauty.
But I lay there. And I breathed. Which in and of itself felt like a heroic act.
And then, when I was ready, I wrote.