The Parenthood Express

This parenting thing—jeesh.

At the beginning you’re just a tired little Mom engine struggling up a mountain of sleepless nights and stanky diapers, sometimes literally crying over spilt breast milk. Days and weeks which bleed into one another, glued together with a refrain of I think I can, I think I can, I think I can hauling your tired ass into bed.

And most days you could. Others…not so much. Sputter, sputter, and chugga, chugga, stall and collapse.

Things usually get easier. You crest, coast downhill for a while, the big, black mountain of early mom-dom in the background as you steam competently over flatlands, slow and steady. You can sit back and take your hands off the controls for a minute. Breath. Sleep. Read a book.

Then BOOM! Suddenly you’re in a tunnel picking up speed, barreling toward that light you’ve been waiting for since those exhausted nights, those endless days when you thought one more redirected tantrum would push you over the edge of sanity.

Except now that light? It’s too damn close.

I want to turn around.

I want to go back and chugga chugga along for another little stretch.

****

My anxiety trigger has always been time. Ok, food too, but mostly time. For so many years I piloted that parenting local, seemingly stopping every few feet, feeling like we would never reach our destination.

Now here I am, on the express.

The panic has set in. Do I have enough time to tell them all I want to, to love them as much as my heart will hold? But there will never be enough time, my heart will never be big enough to hold that, no flesh can. This wild mother love is born of magic and heat soldered together with something unworldly. And right now the seconds and minutes and months are speeding by so fast it’s in danger of bursting out of my chest altogether.

These moments hit me unexpectedly. Not with the slow coalescence of a ghost of the past coming to greet me, but with the force of a freight train bearing down, suddenly and out of nowhere. I am a damsel tied to the tracks, a shiny penny on the rails unaware it’s about to get flattened. An unexpected memory, a reminiscence. Recently a detour down a long-forgotten road flooded me with the sharp recollections of pushing a stroller through Brooklyn side streets. It hit me so hard I felt it physically, like a closed fist to my heart.

How can this be? How can those bundles I silently begged and sometimes even cursed to go to sleep through the night or leave me alone for five minutes, how could they be this much closer to actually leaving me–not for five minutes, but for forever?

Oh, the days are still sometimes long, still filled with homework reminders and the teeth brushing bits. Have you studied? Do you have your wallet? Your keys? Those questions have replaced the frantic maternal chorus of Don’t choke on a grape! and Did you wash your hands? The conversations are grown up. The lessons heavier, the stakes higher. The absences longer.

There is a hole opening up in the space near my lungs, tucked behind my rib cage, and there are days when I’m at a loss as to how I’m going to fill it. There can’t possibly be enough hobbies or vacations or books full of words to occupy that space. It’s too stretched out from babies and needs and wants. Stretched too thin, like a balloon within a second of bursting, stretched around this muscle that is motherhood–the one that beats and contracts not just with my own breath, but with theirs as well.

What am I going to do?

You sign up for this malarkey knowing it will come, knowing they’re going to leave. You think it will be different when it’s your turn, but it’s not. Not really. Last week a formal dance, suit pants and a button down and tomorrow it’ll be a graduation cap and then fast forward to a I hope we see him for Thanksgiving plea. And meanwhile the hole thrums and sings like a phantom limb.

I’m not ready. There are days, like the other one, when I cannot breathe. When all I can do is watch in fascination as I barrel forward, train song ringing in my ears. It’s the same tune whistling there, except it’s no longer I think I can, I think I can.

It’s make it stop, make it stop, make it stop.

One thought on “The Parenthood Express

Add yours

Talk to me, Goose.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

NY Political Mom

I'm a mom. I'm political. Give me coffee or give me death.

Book Jotter

Reviews, news, features and all things books for passionate readers

Craft of Writing

Make your book into a Reality.

ourdailyfeelscom.wordpress.com/

THIS IS US… a colorful, collaborative, collection of truth-tellers, soul-sharers, magic makers and game shakers. All that have a unique story to tell, angle to take and position they stand strongly behind.

D.E. Haggerty

Writer, Blogger, Book Addict

PRS Consulting

What you need to know about roofing

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD

a performative documentary project based on letters to the editor of Ms., 1972-1980

Brizzy Mays Books and Bruschetta

Predominately Books But Other Stuff Too

The Happy Traveler

Seeking to read the pages of Earth's Book.

%d bloggers like this: