cafe mama

finding magic every day

a blur of good efforts . august 08 . 2008

boys on the merry-go-round

And here it is, August, deep into August and I am stuck in the blur, as if in the line of vision of someone on a hot wild merry-go-round, standing still and yet manic, barely seen, not quite real. I am here but yet not present; I am present but not effective. I do not know if the whirling in the corners of my life is a coming-together or a blowing-apart but I know that I end many days feeling lost, behind, vastly insufficient for the task at hand.

We have adopted a human being (Jonathan's generous heart can't let the basement go unoccupied for more than a few months), and though there are many bright spots -- he is brilliant with bikes, he makes useful things out of wood, he bakes bread, he cares deeply, too deeply, about the sustainability of our planet -- he and Everett clash, he is a long lanky version of the boy, damaged and emotional and easily brought to anger. Jonathan offered him a space in our basement for a bit and suddenly he was part of our lives. Simultaneously, Everett has spun out of control at school and at home, lashing out with anger at his classmates, his teachers, me.

I am not quite able to cope and instead of facing the problem head-on I hide, roll into a ball in the center of the merry-go-round, covering my face with my arms and pretending I am not spinning. No. I am saying to myself, this is not fair, and I've worked so hard! and it does not matter. Things fall apart in a smash of good efforts gone wrong; every day a glass or a lovely pottery bowl or a jar full of local walnuts breaks, it seems, every day something is ruined or stepped on or purposefully shattered. The glass-top stove breaks one day, an enormous breakage of epic proportions, and we have nothing to do with it, we cook around the shards and exposed wiring and insulation, me hoping for a gas stove to appear magically in our lives, everyone else waiting for me to do something. I am trying, trying to keep ahead of the cycle of butter churning, grain soaking, bread baking, but I am not succeeding.

The garden is, in spots, lush and a brambly mess, with mint gone flowery and lovely, but enveloping the tender silvery fir tree tomatoes, how did I ever think I could grow all this with my failings. The artichokes have fallen over, top-heavy, never harvested; the asparagus are spindly; the carrots have been nearly all unearthed by chickeny dustbaths. I am too ambitious, too scattered, too good at starting and terrible at finishing. I have too many creatures to care for, five chickens and three little boys and two humans, all the neighborhood cats who poop in my carrot beds and sandbox, I have my own not-quite sane self. I need therapy, yoga, time to write and think without needy humans and their high-pitched cries in the corners of my consciousness, I need to read and knit and be still. I need to make jam and pickles and canned tomatoes and preserves. I need to freeze green beans and corn. I need I need I need.

I do not get that. Instead, I call in a refill for Everett's Prozac and I run. I run in all the wild spare spaces in my day, I wrench time shamelessly from my family and I go, I run angry and I run fast.

I am so fast. Really, amazingly, numbingly fast, I am faster than I have ever been, ever, even when I was 24 and running 6 miles at lunch a few times a week, 10k and 5k and 15k races on the weekends, spin class on Thursday nights. It is the biking, to be sure, carting two or three children and dozens of pounds of groceries on my mamabikeorama up and down hills and all over town; it is the diet, full of sourdough and organic whole grains and fresh-from-the-farm veggies and fruits, it is the post-partum body, supercharged. It is my playlist, full of Persephone's Bees and Talking Heads and They Might Be Giants and Cherry Poppin' Daddies, pulsing and sometimes happy and always skittering rhythmically. But most of all it is the need, I need something and this is all I have.

paying the bills

read my previous post . monroe, one year . july 10 . 2008