This will not be coherent or even organic at best. While motherhood has been an absolute joy, life has been a blur. Thus, a futile attempt at chronicling the first few days of the rest of my life.
As the sun sets and rises on each day, I find myself in a kind of daze, one in which mornings bleed into evenings and hours turn into days, weeks and months. All while I grapple with the fact that life came to a standstill in March 2020.
I’m not going to curate this for social media’s sake. Motherhood + unemployment + chronic illness has been the most humbling and sobering equation thus far. If Nacio had not come at the time he did, I don’t know where I would be today. In a debilitating state or rut, perhaps. I’m sure many moms would agree that cradling your child amidst the uncertainty of the future feels like a gamble of fate but it can also feel like hope in the palm of your hand.
Moments like this (moments of pure clarity) are few and far between. Most days, I float in the fog of motherhood. You see, when you’re sleep-deprived, exhausted to the bone, aching for a decent bath or hot meal, moments of inspiration are hard to come by. I type this as my milk-drunk child naps on my lap in a dimly-lit room with white noise music playing in the background.
The old me—the one who glorified the grind and measured success in the hours I clocked in—now moves at a very different pace. Life is slow. Life is simple. I exist to nurse, to bathe, to rock, to comfort, to play, to raise this child.
Still, it goes without saying that the identity crisis is real. And it can hit hard. The person I was before and the person I am today are pieces of a puzzle that should but won’t seem to fit (at least not perfectly).
I miss work. I miss the fulfillment it brings, the hustle and bustle, the adrenaline, the audience, the community, the power of theater, the moment onstage where nothing else matters. I miss my body, my voice—things that have so rapidly changed in the last two years—that the thought of going back to work cripples me. I miss owning my time, owning myself. I miss… life but what is life if it doesn’t constantly change anyway.
I watch his chest rise and fall, his warmth against mine. How could I possibly want more? This is my life now. It’s not to say that I—that things will never be the same but this boy will define all of my decisions from hereon out. He is my lifeline and hopefully I, his.
The irony of it all is you barely have time to step away and breathe but when you’re awake and feeding at ungodly hours, you have all this time alone with your thoughts where all the big questions go unanswered.
When will this pandemic end? Will I ever get better? Will I ever go back to work? What kind of world or future awaits my child? Was I even right to bring this child into the world? The questions are all too familiar. The very same lines I uttered in Lungs are the very same things I’m living through today.
I often try to end these ramblings and musings with some kind of resolution—on a hopeful note, if you will. The truth is, hope at a time like this can be very difficult to grasp. When does this all end and when do we get to begin again?
Perhaps now is the time to hold tight, to cling on to whatever gets you through the day. Whether it’s family, friends, your pet, your work, a new skill or hobby or the prospect of someday, hold on tight.
As for me, I’ll be taking it one day at a time and answering questions as I go. I’ll just be here with my milk-drunk child on my lap in a dimly-lit room with white noise music playing in the background—hoping that someday comes soon enough. And that I get more sleep and showers as I go.