Holy smokes, an insomnia-tinged night.
A few sleepy-surreal ramblings below, but a quick invite first: I'll be doing a couple of informal readings from Knocked Up, Knocked Down in the Washington D.C. area just a few weeks from now, and it would be really cool to have some company from the KuKd/IF crew. So if you're on the east coast and happen to be free, I encourage you to attend. It's not as though I've been running rampant around the country on "book tour" like a glammed-out rock star, so don't expect me to have spiked Elvira hair. Really I'm just going to be in D.C. anyway and decided what the heck - why not put myself out there once or twice. I'll reading a couple of favorite chapters out loud with my most entertaining vocal intonations, perhaps even coupled with a live performance of the stillbirth folk song if I can get my guitar tuned in time. Here are the deets:
1) Thursday Nov. 4th, 6:30pm - Arlington Rock Bottom Brewery, Level 1 of Ballston Commons Mall
2) Friday Nov. 5th, 7:30pm - Westin Hotel Alexandria, The Bell Room
I hope to see you there.
What news is there to muse about? On the one hand, I wish I had some insanely juicy stories to share. But on the other hand, I'm glad I don't.
I have a living son who just turned six months old. I'd post a photo but really he just looks like a round, wide-eyed, extremely curious baby who's engaged with the entire world. To me, his existence is an extremely juicy fact - but nobody ever thinks your child is as amazng as you do, so that's that.
I've been asked more than once how past losses affect my current motherhood, or "what it's like to have a child after stillbirth," or some such thing. I think it's a legitimate and interesting question, but surprisingly hard to answer. It's hard to answer because I honestly don't know what kind of mother I would have been if I could reverse the clock, undo the events of the last several years.
*I have a green leather journal with "Letters to Sean, 2010" inscribed on the cover in hardpressed ballpoint pen. Inside are little frenzied bursts of writing dated every week or two, addressed to Sean himself. I write them for him as an adult, when I imagine him accidentally finding them buried inside an old trunk. They're about him: what he's doing now, the impressions he gives to me and others. They're about me: my feelings and perceptions as his mother, because of course those feelings are complex and multi-layered. Then they always go back to him, these little notes: back to describing in great detail the numerous ways he makes me laugh and glow inside every goddamned day. I imagine a lot of mothers have a journal-ish thing like this.
*I write letters to my husband and leave them on the counter when I head off for work, folded up with a fake postmark and everything. Not all the time; just every few weeks or so. They're kinda love letters kinda, but kinda not. Just rambling-friend letters. It feels important to remain focused on us, our relationship, even as Sean occasionally eclipses that focus.
*At the same time, I have occasional bouts of anxiety over Sean's heart and health, fears that he won't in fact reach adulthood, and need to be reminded by gentle doctors (and kick-ass husband) that he checks out fine. The fear gets really dark and overwhelming sometimes, but I deal. Would a non-KuKd mom have freak-out moments? I imagine so.
*And all the while, I find myself weirdly lax about certain things, knowing there's so much I really can't control. Things like Sean eating dirt, sucking on dirt, tipping over from sitting position and bonking his head. Things like what he eats. I mean, it's not that I don't care what he eats. I just don't fret about it as much as I could or should.
Oh, the one thing Sean still does is remind me of potential, of miracles, of what a living baby really is and means. I don't think I knew this even in the throes of my KuKd experience - I just pretended I understood because the sadness would otherwise be so mysterious and confusing. Sean makes me read blogs like this one, about a baby born at 26 weeks, with a hopeful and anxious heart, because I realize now what's at stake. (By the way, that's a friend-of-a-friend's blog, not just some random blog that I found scouring Google for dramatic stories).
OK, onward and upward. And I hope to see you in D.C.
Saturday, October 16, 2010