Saturday, April 28, 2007

one year later


Writing for no audience has a certain charm. I can be as honest, freakish, or neurotic as I want and it doesn't really matter since no one is reading.
Which is why I want to write about the complete and utter meltdown I had just two days ago. The meltdown that found me beating the countertop with what just might be my most favorite kitchen gadget, the wire strainer, and sobbing like a recently- widowed newlywed while I mopped up an entire bottle of Pinot Grigio that I had dropped on the kitchen floor while putting groceries away just moments before.

In a fit of compulsive, obligatory housewifeness, I had been trying to cook some cauliflower cheese soup while holding my 18-month old daughter, Isla. I basically do everything while holding Isla, since she shrieks relentlessly and curls up her legs like a 747 lifting its wheels at takeoff each and every time I try to set her down on the floor. This annoying habit of hers has led to an incredible new skill of mine, "one- armed living." I can actually pull down my pants, sit on the toilet and do my business, pull my pants back up and snap them all with one arm. I can make the bed and brush my teeth with one arm. What I can't do is fold laundry or butter toast. This doesn't mean I haven't tried.

When I dropped the wine bottle I was already in a foul mood and was honestly looking for a reason to freak out. I got it and I grabbed hold of it, swung myself up onto its back and and rode it as far as I could. Profanity rolled effortlessly off my tongue. The proverbial spilled milk became reason to hate myself, to hate my life, to hate everything within spitting distance of me and my forked tongue.
"I dont' want to be here cooking this soup in this house, in this kitchen, in this life," I chanted to myself. "I don't want to be here."

Where, you might be wondering, was the innocent, cherubic 18-month old child I had just lovingly been holding before I became Mommy Dearest? She was in the mudroom, where I had deposited her to keep her away from the splintered shards of broken glass and rivers of wine that covered the kitchen floor. She was cleverly steering clear of what she recognized to be a very volatile, unpredictable and completely undomesticated animal.

She wasn't crying, she seemed to know better. She was watching me, very carefully, trying to figure out if I was mad or sad or singing or screaming. I told her many times that I was not mad at her, I was mad at myself. I resented this. The fact that I couldn't even have a meltdown without feeling guilty. Without feeling like a bad mother.

As always, my anger relented to sadness and I became this very wet and salty excuse for a human. I picked Isla up again and she put her warm, sticky hand on my cheek and moved her face into mine as if to say, "Come back, Mummy." It seems love, compassion and empathy are not lost on the tiniest, most immature of human beings. They are there, inside us. Sometimes hidden, buried under a sea of salt water and angst. I feel better now.