Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The New Hairstyle Was a Wig

Some days I feel like this blog reads more like a jar of frosting than real life. Yesterday afternoon I wanted to share the unedited truth about my day without pulling the, "ButThat'sOkLifeIsGoodAndI'mHappy," drawstring to wrap it up tidily at the end. I wanted to leave things raw and real--to say, "I struggle. I yell. I work myself into knots of anxiety about things that I have no control over. I want to run out of my life for a few, or several, days."

And here's why:

Henry only napped for 45 minutes--not even enough time for me to shower, dress and apply make up--let alone make progress on the grant I'm supposed to be writing. It's not just the lack of personal time that's so bothersome about a short nap, it's the inevitable whining and obstinance that ensues for the remainder of the afternoon--as it did yesterday. Add to that the fact that Henry also dumped half a bag of corn chips, mostly crumbs, onto the pantry floor. And that he found my mascara, (which I take full blame for, having left it in his reach, but bear in mind the difficulty of keeping every tool, gadget, toothbrush, bag of chips, cosmetic, glass, electronic device, marker, pen, CD, and chemical out of the reach of a very curious and determined toddler and you'll understand the likelihood of one hazardous item being left exposed.) And with that mascara, he transformed himself into a tribal warrior. I know, he's cute. And there is an element of sweetness to him wanting to do what I do, but by this point in the day all I could see it for was a mess of wasted mascara. And then he pooped his pants. But his dirty backside didn't deter him from mounting his steed (a.k.a the arm of the sofa) and taking a very spirited ride--so spirited in fact, that it squished poop out of the sides of his diaper. All. Over. The couch. At the end of this messy, flaky, poopy, mascara schmeared afternoon, that started with a very short nap, I was supposed to supervise a youth activity at church. And since Nate was working late, I'd have the pleasure of taking Henry. By this time I had lifted (or lowered, I'm not sure which is appropriate,) myself to suffering status that would excuse me from all responsibility. A day like this merited pity, lounging, a long bath. Intoxicated by my own self-sorrow, I was ready to call my friends from church and tell them that I just couldn't swing it, but I called my husband instead, and begged him, in a really pitiful plea of desperation, to leave work and finish his projects from home so I wouldn't have to take Henry to church with me. That would just be too much at the end of this really, really hard day in my very, very burdened life.

He came home. I went to church. I came home. And I complained. About my day. About my life. About everything. Your long hours at work. My lack of support. The church--it just demands too much of us. We need to get away. "Simplify! Simplify! Simplify!" It was an impressive blend of hysteria and exhaustion.

"Do you want to hear something really sad?" He asked in response.

"Ok." I thought maybe he would bring up a sad detail of our lives in an empathetic act of commiseration.

He asked me if I remembered a certain coworker of his. I did, the pregnant one who commented about how adorable Henry is. I don't make a habit of forgetting people who are complimentary of my child.

"Well, she came into work today with a totally new hairstyle, shorter and died kind of auburn red."

"Did it look good?"

"Well, I told her I liked it and she said thanks. Then, just to make conversation, I asked her when her baby was due and she told me they were going to take the baby in April. I thought that was weird, 'cause I was pretty sure that she was supposed to be due in June or July. I must have let on that I was confused 'cause then she explained that she was just diagnosed with breast cancer and that she started chemo last week and that was why they were taking the baby early. And the reason for the new was a wig. She said the hair started falling out slowly, but that she woke up yesterday, totally bald."

The silence hung so heavily in the air it felt like my shoulders were drooping beneath it and so were my complaints; drooping, withering, and disappearing with the sound of Nate's voice.

But I was going to tell the world about those struggles, and it was going to be raw. I wanted to run out of my life.

And now I can't. I don't want to run. I want to be permanent. I want to last--even if I never finish that grant proposal and have to live out my days surrounded by tribal warriors in a pile of tortilla chip crumbs.

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