“Andrew…?” I said into the dark last night, “I just feel so…lost…”
Silence. He’d been sort of asleep before this. He went to bed at a most reasonable 9:45pm, whereas I, craving an hour or two of kid-free quiet and normalcy in a stressful day, stayed up and watched iZombie. And then Bob’s Burgers. And then realized it was 11pm and if I started Call The Midwife I wouldn’t be in bed until midnight after taking the dog out, and so most virtuously and heroically turned off the television.
I figured he was still out, and that was okay, I mostly wanted to say it out loud, and then feel the warmth of his body against my back and take deep breaths and maybe be able to go to sleep.
“I’m sorry,” he finally said, “do you want to talk about it?”
Did I? I mean, maybe, but I also knew that waking Andrew up and then asking to talk about feelings is just not a kind thing to do. Save that for the big stuff. The I-have-to-talk-now-or-I-can’t-sleep stuff.
“No,” I said, “not really. Just…you know, trying to make sense of things.”
“Um…okay.” he said. And putting an arm around me, he drifted back to sleep.
A few weeks back I let myself degrade to a state of ennui such that things truly ground to a halt in the house. No clean clothes, or dishes, or food beyond peanut butter sandwiches. I waited for momentum, for motivation, for something to propel me forward, and nothing came.
Except depression and self-loathing on the state of the house, which caused me to lash out at my husband and kids, and probably the dog too. That came out just fine.
So last week I decided to make a plan and do it, no matter what. Clear, clean, calendar schedule of what must be done. Step by step by step. And I did it too – I cleaned and cooked and put laundry on the clothes line and had special ed meetings and rehearsals and left for work on time and set out my clothes the night before and sang the Phos Hilaron every night and all those good things. And the house did get a bit better. The kids and dog were happier and calmer. Andrew, having a longer memory than kids and dog, took a bit longer but slowly thawed. We talked and laughed and made panna cotta and cocktails.
And I thought, okay. If I build it, it will come. Here’s the plan, and I’m doing the plan, and now will come satisfaction in the work, momentum to the next thing, motivation for creativity.
And it just did not. Has not.
I can logically look at my situation and realize doing is better than not-doing. My self-motivation nonwithstanding, cleaner house with happier family is better than dirty house with stressed out family.
But I’m just lost within it. How did I get here. This is not my beautiful house. Same as it ever was.
I’m going to Ohio in a few weeks to see my brother and sister-in-law, and to bring them our crib, the crib Isaac and Kai used, for their new baby coming in July. I’ll see them, and my parents, and will be away from my dirty house and needy kids, and I’m so looking forward to the 8 hour drive by myself in silence. I so am.
I realize I’ve been thinking of that trip, also, as a chance for a clean break. Before and after. Before I was lost, after I will find myself renewed and ready to live my life again. And I know how dangerous such thinking can be, that if I look to the external for that kind of renewal, then my internal motivation isn’t being used. I know. I can’t help it, here, I’m just grasping for something right now.
I just feel so…lost.