Day One

So many first days

Doing the same thing

Write it all down,

Make yourself sweat.

Don’t eat too much.

Get used to hunger.

Say goodbye to sweet.

Eat lentils.

Drink water.

More water.

More water.

Go to bed and do it again

Until it starts to feel normal.

And then something will throw you off course.

And you’ll go back to day one again.

And again.

 

I have had too many day ones like this.

My stomach gnawing, body aching.

Trying to fit this lifestyle

Into my life.

My kids laughing while I exercise.

Making myself “good” food

And getting nothing else done.

Too many day ones.

Balance feels unattainable.

Inspiration

All the meals

Babies,

Car rides,

Diapers.

Everything busy,

For so many years.

Going here and there,

Helping little people learn and be.

I am more than this

Just a mother, but

Kids are ever present

Love flowing from me, to them, from them, to me.

Mama.

 

Body

I have only one.

It’s all I’ll ever have.

Hard truth as it ages,

Changes,

Sometimes in ways I don’t care for.

 

It’s a mobile home, not me, but the vessel carrying who I am.

It both matters so much and matters so little what I do with it.

 

“Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”

 

Truth. To abuse it does no good.

Wears on my mind,

Slows me down.

And so I will sweep up.

Wash the walls, take out the trash.

Put in a new light fixture or two.

And take better care of my mobile home,

As it’s the only one I’ll ever have.

 

 

 

Beginning

My seventh child

My sixth son

Smiles back at me from a few feet away

Not knowing who he is or who I am

Just smiling at a smiling face

Content in this moment because his belly is full

And he has had a good sleep

And someone is smiling at him.

He is young enough that soon his belly will need filling

And his eyes will droop again

And he will drift off for another nap.

But for now he is cheerful and friendly.

I have always wondered what babies think.

Before recognition and vocabulary.

Before understanding dawns and they are more than just babies.

Blocked

Blinking little line:

Reminding me of what I was and have been

And what does not come as easily now.

Thoughts tumbling in silence

Forgotten when the blinking line sits before me.

Poetry and prose and whole stories

Lost.

Songs written and dreams discovered

Leave empty space behind and empty space is all I see now.

Lost.

Identity wrapped in small people and daily necessities

Gifts forgotten; unused.

Gathering dust in places I can’t even see.

Brief memories of desire

To create

To be

Something other than wrapped up in motherhood.

Motherhood is beautiful.

Messy,

Exhausting.

But not my identity.

Or is it now, because days and nights are filled with it?

The creation and care of these small people demands my attention.

But what will I be when they are no longer small?

Will I still have value?

Maybe that is the hardest part:

The knowledge that someday I will just be me again.

Undone and drained after years of what I wanted most:

To be a mother.

To be a wife.

To be wrapped up in it.

I wear it like a cloak

But those things I had before

Are still there

Somewhere.

Layers of myself

Beneath the mothering.

Writer, singer, creator.

Are still there, waiting to be uncovered.

That blinking line threatens me.

Says that when it is all uncovered again,

It will be a shadow of what it once was.

That I have buried my gifts in the ground

In hopes of keeping them safe

But have lost everything instead.

Lights are on but no one is home

I may have lost my spark.

I don’t know when it happened

but at some point, life took over.

Ordinary, hum drum, full of chores life.

And I don’t complain as much as I used to,

I just do the chores.

Change the babies.

Apply band-aids and wipe noses and wash the same dishes

over and over and over again…

Not sure if complaining and creating in a mess was better than this.

This tidier life without expression.

Spare time filled in the same way everyone else fills it.

Netflix and phone scrolling.

Coffee in the afternoon, binging sugar when I feel particularly down.

But I looked at myself today and realized I’m a shadow.

Nothing like I once was.

And maybe depression doesn’t always look like dark thoughts and attack.

Maybe sometimes it looks like hum drum and laundry.

Telling myself it’s for my family. Joy to serve. Proverbs 31 and all that.

I wish it was a joy to serve. I wish I was flooded with peace in the middle of monotony.

I wish I was the woman my husband married nearly thirteen years ago.

Truth is, I’m a bit of a bore.

And I’ve gotten old and lost something that I always had before.

Can’t put a name to it but oh, how I wish I could fix it.

But dishes and laundry and diapers and noses and fights and macaroni and cheese

keep me too busy to fix it.

Leave me just enough time to notice it now and then.

To cry a bit and feel the cracks in my heart aching.

And then go back to life and forget those moments until the next time I come up for air.

Gasping and reaching.