Posts tagged ‘loneliness’

lists

For the past month or two I have been driven to really scratch things off the to-do list, and I have.  I’ve cleared out the email inbox, packed up most of our house, gone to the recycler and goodwill ( a couple times). It has been a productive era. But lately I have felt a little bit of my  DO! DO! DO! feelings ebb  and it has has been helpful for the part of my life that doesn’t live on a to-do list.

Wanting to “get things done” has been an almost irritating drive when my toddler wants me to hold her, or read books. I have been putting her off, saying I wasn’t quite ready to settle in for reading and she says “Why not mama? What are you doing? And my answers sound so lame. Dishes don’t make sense to a two year old.

And what’s worse is that if I can put her off for a couple minutes she sometimes gets distracted and the few minutes might turn into fifteen minutes and I finish the one task and then, because she is now occupied, I launch onto a bigger task. And then she finds me and asks to read books again and the great drive to “get things done” thrashes in resistance and the cycle continues. I get a lot done, sure. But I also purposely distance myself from my daughter to do it and that doesn’t feel good.

My currently less ambitious state feels a little better. At least now I can read a book (or twenty five) without looking around the room and adding to the to-do list at the same time. But it also means that when I go looking for something in the basement and can’t find it, I don’t organize a bit and stack and order as I look, making the basement tidier as a result. Instead I listlessly shuffle a couple things aside, feel overwhelmed, and give up, leaving the basement worse off than before. Sigh.

If only we could turn these things on and off. I would like it if, when the girls were busy making Hamster Heaven, I could charge through my list, but when they were done or needed me, I would be able to immediately let go of my attachment to completing the tasks and step fully into being with them again.

It’s not okay with me to feel irritated with Echo just because I don’t get to vacuum the bedroom.

It’s also not okay with me to live in a dirty house.

Hmmmm. I think I’ll add this to the list I have going of what makes up “the human condition”. Loneliness is on that list, fear of being known, seen or different is on that list, and now “a clean house versus connection with your children” is on that list. I guess I like making a list because by identifying my trials as universal I feel better.

Haha, it’s kind of ironic. Now I see that putting this on the list helps me feel less alone, and less different, the very first items on the list to begin with. Maybe lists are good for something after all.

January 14, 2010 at 10:50 am 2 comments

not…alone

alone_with_the_alone_by_pakpao

When I was pregnant with Echo I felt really alone. Nathan would say how funny or strange that seemed since carrying another living being inside my body might be the least alone I’d ever be. But “alone” isn’t just the physical reality of being the only one in the room. I felt alone even with another human being within me. Alone is a feeling, and feelings don’t always coincide with physical realities.

More than two years later, I’m still thinking about that idea. Alone in spirit.

Echo and I rode over to Kris’ house  today and I realized that she and  I live only blocks away from each other, yet are often completely isolated from one another. She is in her house feeding, playing, and holding her children. And I am in my house feeding, playing, and holding my own. As I rode through the neighborhood I wondered how many other parents am I passing? How many of those silent houses shelter another mom or dad feeding, playing, and holding?

How many of them, though inside a crowded house, feel alone?

When I was pregnant I felt alone because the person nearest to me was not pregnant, and though he is amazing, I knew he was not feeling the same things I was. No matter how often you say “we’re” pregnant, it still isn’t true. No one can deliver that baby for you,and that can feel lonely.

What helped, at the time, was empathy from someone who had experienced something similar. It felt good when my midwife visited and told me tales of kicking her husband out of the house because she was pregnant and wildly pissed off. It felt good to go to birth class and see other bellies. It felt good to hear stories I could relate to, from people I related to.

Now I am parenting in a way that flows against the current of our culture. To parent with empathy as a foundation can be a lonely enterprise indeed, as this is not the norm. Odds are your mother-in-law (or neighbor, or  grocery clerk) thinks you are crazy, your own mother may feel these choices are a direct attack on her parenting, and nine out of ten parents at a birthday party do not parent as you do.

Today, even more than when I was pregnant, I need people I relate to, to hear me, and share with me. I need to cross the divide, to make it the few blocks to my friend’s house, and hear her talk. I need the simple text that reconnects me. I need lifelines that keep me from being alone in the crowded room.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I only know that if I feel this then someone else might feel it too. And if they do feel this way, it might help to read these words late at night while their children sleep. I am reaching across the divide.

October 27, 2009 at 5:00 am 5 comments


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