Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wait For It

Wait for it...wait for it...Can you hear it? The sound of the other shoe dropping. I hear it. Like the low whistle of a train hanging in the night air, I can't tell if it is miles away or just around the corner.

Yesterday, I was greeted by several people in the neighborhood. Our conversations revolved around Halloween parties and dealing with tearful first week of school drops-offs. For the first time in a year and a half, I feel grounded. A part of a living, breathing community. My husband's job is still awful, and we still live in a house of questionable habitability. However, the kids love their school, and the idea of change has suddenly become very scary and unwelcome.

In the face of this sudden feeling of stability, I've been reminded in glaring, awful ways the past few days of how fleeting and precious life is. A barrage of images and storylines, both fictitious and real, have left me spinning my mental wheels over things I cannot control. My love for my family is so strong I am almost paralyzed by it. The air I breathe is redolent with the smell of cheerios and tear-free shampoo. I find myself stabilized by tiny shoulders when I feel out of balance. The idea of stretching my hand out into a void of silence terrifies me on a level I cannot fathom and pray I will never face.

I had no idea that becoming a parent would mean living in a perpetual state of overwhelming love and unshakable fear. How can these two states of being coexist side by side? When giggles from a light-hearted game of chase turn into screams of pain after a bloody collision with a coffee table. The burden of responsibility is huge. Now that I fear that I am not up to the challenge, it is far too late to do anything about it. Sloppy kisses and full body hugs remind me that my kids think I am the perfect mom for them. They tell me how much they love me, bringing me presents of stickers and popsicle sticks decorated with glitter that mirrors the sparkle in their eyes.

Is it possible to catch the shoe? Because I don't want to wait for it. Like a major league outfielder running like hell to get that third out, I want to snatch it out of the air. Because my life is always bases loaded, two down in the bottom of the ninth with a full count. Sometimes it is an easy pop-up, and sometimes we need to make that spectacular diving catch. Sliding across the grass with our focus on that one singular object that will bring spectacular success or the end of the game.

Can't I change the rules? I've never been very good at following them in the first place, and it seems that catching the shoe instead of letting it knock the breath out of me is a much better strategy.


KJ said...


Irrational Dad said...

I'm too much of an introvert to talk to the people in my community. I don't know how others can do it. I stand behind a window, looking through the slats of the blinds, watching people converse in the real world, and I wonder how that is possible.

Heh... you're gonna be a soccer mom, lugging around all the neighborhood kids in a minivan!

So Not Wishy Washy said...

Your kids and hubby as so lucky.

And let that shoe drop somewhere else. It's not always going to be in your backyard.

Patois42 said...

I'm with So Not Wishy Washy: let it drop elsewhere. (But not in my backyard either, 'k?)

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Kat: Great to see you!

@Joe: Since I walk the kids to school, it is inevitable that I run into other moms. And I have to say I like it. I like the idea of people being out in their yards like when I was a kid.

@NotWishyWashy & Patois: I get what you're saying, but I also don't want to make it someone else's problem. I want to deal with it head on. It's a control thing. :)

Rassles said...

I cannot imagine being a parent, being so protective out of fear. I'm already crazy protective of my friends and family. But it's not preventative, if that makes sense.

Maybe I missed the point. Parenting confuses me.

Krishanna Magic said...

OF COURSE, you can change the rules. You just have to willing to deal with what happens next. That my dear is the rub. =^.^=

Gypsy said...

That was lovely.

Blues said...

This is something I think about a lot: how I will deal with the panicky fear associated with loving someone that much.