Today marks 42 days since the last positive interaction with my son, 13 days since pure evil enveloped my life, and 23 minutes since the last time I cried.
I have been doing a lot of reminiscing. Much of the time is spent replaying events and interactions wondering where the exact moment was when I made it all go wrong. Other times I recall an infant who would cry until he felt my arms around him. I remember a toddler who still called me “mama” and asked with the sweetest, tiniest “please” for a nighttime lullaby. At what point did that sweetest, tiniest voice begin to wreak destruction over my life and family?
When I found out I was pregnant, like any new mother, I experienced an emotional gamut ranging from fear of the inevitable pain to excitement about growing a creature. By the time I was in the third trimester I was no longer enchanted by this bladder kicking, stretch mark making body intruder and I couldn’t care less about pain. Pain is temporary. This pregnancy felt eternal.
When the contractions started I whiplashed back to an expanse of emotional confusion with a Gollum-like debate:
“I take it back! Growing this human is great! I’ll do it forever if it doesn’t have to come out!”
“No drugs. Drugs are bad!”
“Just keep it in! I’ll never complain again!”
“Get it out immediately by whatever means!”
How has any woman ever survived this barbaric process?
Then all of a sudden the pandemonium in the brain goes into shock, calm, and joy. There is that first cry. This tiny human is the only reason for anything and there is nothing but awe for the sweetest and tiniest screech in the world. This cry soon jolts me out of deep sleeps, follows me home after work and even continues while I am in the bathroom. I am no longer in awe of this cry but I can no longer remember my world before.
Dozing during a 2:00 AM feeding in my secondhand glider chair soothed by the pale blue light of the dinosaur lamp near the crib, I keep a sleepy smile on my face as I watch him fall back to sleep in my arms. I don’t mind that I have to be at work in three hours. I don’t mind that I will have a crick in my neck when I stand up to place him back in his crib. I don’t mind because he is my job. Caring for him is most of my identity. Whether he is four months or fourteen years, caring for him is my job. I do not know when the treachery and mutiny began to surreptitiously take him but I know I want to return to that glider chair with the pale, blue light and hold him against my breast whispering, “I love you, always.”