Friday, November 8, 2013

The Night an Onion Made me Cry

Onions don't usually make me cry. I discovered a long time ago that as long as I have my contacts in, I am protected from their evil potency.

I had my contacts in tonight, and the smell of the onion wasn't bothering me, but I was crying like a baby because it was 6 pm, and I hadn't showered or even put on a bra. It wasn't for lack of time though. It was a survival tactic + I just didn't want to, because if I spend any of my only alone time, while the kids are napping, doing anything other than crocheting, I want to send them right back upstairs 5 minutes after their nap has ended. While many people consider a shower...and maybe even a bra, great things to do for yourself, those things do not relax me. Crocheting in my living room, all alone, and ignoring all of the must-get-dones, is my happy place.

My one year old, Isaac, is going through this thing where he screams at me if he's not being fed or entertained. Most of my friends would never believe that. He's a pretty content baby when we are elsewhere or when others are here. Ya know why? Because he's being entertained. But when it's just us, here at home, and Elijah and Chastity are trying to do their school lessons, and I am desperately trying to teach them, Isaac is upset about everything. Today was no exception, so I decided that we wouldn't do any lessons at all while he was awake. In the meantime, he pooped in every diaper I put him in, leaving a red and bleeding behind for the wiping (which gave him another reason to scream). So the kids had an hour long bath/play time, so he could air out his sore little tush. And it was the only time, all day, that Isaac was happy.

During his nap we got a couple of lessons in, but not enough to call it a productive day. He woke up screaming, screamed throughout his diaper change, screamed because I had to put him down to wash my hands post-diaper change, and screamed because I didn't feed him quickly enough. I don't have anything in this house I can shove in his mouth quickly enough, except Cheerios...and he's getting really sick of Cheerios. And so he screams at those too and flails his arms all over his table until he has successfully fed the dog.

And I want to scream too. I am angry almost all the time. I wake up in the morning looking forward to naps; naps which my oldest is most definitely growing out of at the age of 6, naps I could use for cleaning or even for teaching my oldest lessons we didn't have time to do during Isaac's first nap, but I force the issue anyway, because I don't want to clean. I don't want to teach. I want to sit, by myself, and watch stupid TV shows that are so stupid I can spend the whole show with my face in a lap full of yarn, and not miss a single thing.

I should stop here and say, I love my children, and they know that. I hug them, even when I'm angry. I smile at them even when I'm annoyed, and I tell them "Of course I want to see that," every single time they ask me, "Mommy? Wanna see this?" And while I watch them jump in the air, and twitch their hands while shaking their heads, for the 100th time, I know, that that is the most fun I will have with them all day. Because I am the teacher, the chef, the maid, the do-all-the-things-yet-get-nothing-done Mommy. I am home with my kids all day every day, and we have no time for fun, because keeping them fed and educated (between screaming) and saving them from drowning in piles of laundry is a full time job. In fact, just keeping Isaac from getting hungry takes up most of my day. So no fun for us, or at least me, because the brief moments they all play peacefully and contentedly together are the only moments I have to keep my head above water. And so I feel like I'm losing myself. I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of chores that will never get done, and just when I get my head above water, just when I finally fold the laundry in the dryer and on top of the dryer, I'm pushed under again by the next wave of clothes, and dishes.

And this probably isn't the time or place to mention this, but...well, why not? I was once made to feel shame over a blog I wrote which I ended up deleting, because I had shared "too much information," but you know what, sometimes people need some of that TMI to know that they aren't alone in their struggles and to even find help. If women lived in fear of talking about their concerns or struggles, breast cancer would always win because God forbid we talk about our boobies. So I'm going to talk about this. Bam!

A little over a month ago, I lost a baby I didn't know I was pregnant with. Yeah, my story just took an uncomfortable turn, but let's push through. I have not dealt with it well. I haven't wanted to talk about it. I have suppressed it because I feel guilty for even being upset about it. I have three beautiful and healthy children, and it's not fair of me to feel sadness over a child I didn't know I had. So instead of sadness I walk around PISSED OFF (sorry Mom and Dad). I'm mad at everything. I yell sarcastically at the dog as if she understands sarcasm. I talk trash about every driver on the road, out loud, to myself. I find myself in a room alone and something as small as dropping the peanut butter knife on the floor will send me into a fit of  flailing limbs hysterically, silently cussing out everything from the ceiling to the floor. The worst of it is when it effects our school day. Every now and then (about every other day it seems) Elijah seems completely dumb-founded by a concept he just understood the day before. I will so much as give him the answer and he will stare me in the face and still give me the wrong answer. And all I can do to hide my crazy is throw up the white flag and call it a day, and wonder when I should just call it on the whole homeschooling idea.

See, Jelani and I weren't sure we were going to have a 4th child anyway. We (me) weren't really ready for a permanent solution for that problem though, so we prayed that if it was God's will, and He so saw fit, that He would override any precautions we took. The majority of our precautions involved abstinence, however. Not on purpose, mind you, but because I am one of the lucky 1-3% of women who can't have intercourse (does that word make you slightly less uncomfortable?) during pregnancy or...OR while breastfeeding. Well, ladies and gents, that's flippin' 18+ months. My hormones make it very painful for me, and so Jelani and I are the best at...cuddling...that is until our backs start to bother us. Anyway, so Isaac was starting to ween, and things were starting to get a little bit better down there, but the month I would have conceived we made love (that one any better?) ONCE, and it was with protection. Now, I'm not a silly teenage girl. I get that these things happen. That's why there are so many unwanted pregnancies in the world. But the pure irony of it under these circumstances was just plain cruel. If I'm being honest (am I allowed to be honest?), my first completely uninhibited, human, horrible-Christian reaction was, "Wow. God was totally just out to prove something, like 'look what I can do. I giveth and I taketh away.'" I played the part of angry victim quite well, and most definitely failed the "Job test." I don't feel that way anymore, but I'm still having a hard time letting go of the anger.

I lost something I didn't know I had, but the moment it was gone I knew how much I loved it. I can look into the eyes of my other three children and know exactly what I lost and exactly how much love will be missing from our house without it.

And so I'm angry.

And as I stood over that onion at 6 pm without a shower, or a bra, nothing to show for my day and no fun stories to think about, and having left everything in the house less than half done, I chopped that onion angrily, recklessly and ferociously. I imagined, just for a second, chopping my fingers, not intentionally of course, but just, what if? And the thought didn't bother me at all. Me, who can't make it through a surgery scene in Grey's Anatomy, and can't watch my own children puke. The thought of accidentally chopping off a few fingers didn't bother me at all, because then I'd be forced to feel something other than anger or drowning OR I'd really have something to be angry about. But then as quickly as that thought came, I thought, "No! I wouldn't be able to crochet!"

My very first thought after imagining accidentally chopping my fingers while dicing a stupid onion was not about quality of life, or my children, or how traumatizing that might be for them, or even my husband, but about missing crochet, the hobby that replaced basketball after that career ended, and the hobby that I never tire of doing; a hobby that sometimes makes me wish my children would nap a little (a few hours) longer.

And that is why I cried over that stupid onion; because I have been so angry about losing a child I obviously don't deserve to have.

And while I've been busy being angry and  hating myself, and hating myself for hating myself, my children have found sensitive ways to show me they love me. As Chastity watched me change the other morning, I self-consciously asked her, "Why are you looking at me?" She simply responded with, "Because I love you. And you're beautiful." And I know that for her, that is truth, and I wouldn't want to do anything, ever, to destroy that truth.

So I share this today for all the moms who have lost a pregnancy, at any stage, and felt as though they couldn't talk about it.

The moms who have felt crazy with guilt and selfishness over what any "rational" person would think ludicrous.

The moms who have been unable to have sex (oooooo, I said it!) because of pain, or depression, or illness, or various other complications, but are too afraid to talk about it.

The moms who have felt alone and need to hear that not everything you feel is crazy, even if it sounds crazy written down (clears throat uncomfortably) :-/

The moms who feel like they can't be honest about their emotions for fear of judgment.

And the moms who don't always feel like they like their children, but always, always love them not in spite of the children, but in spite of themselves.

Tomorrow will be better. Maybe I will shower, and maybe, just maybe throw on a bra.


  1. Thank you for not being afraid to say what all mommies think and feel sometimes. What you went through was HARD. And it isn't something your husband can really sympathize with, because it leaves an empty space in you that only other women can really understand.
    I know there are days I wish my teenage children would take a nap so I could have an hour to sit and crochet (my latest vice) and watch a dumb TV show I didn't have to think about. And as mommies, we should feel okay about this, because contrary to societal belief, we are people too.

    1. I am sorry, I'm just seeing this!! Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It's a strange line we walk between wanting to do something for ourselves and feeling guilty about doing anything that doesn't involve our children, isn't it?