Bats, and when you are tightly wound


My super mommy friend Mary across the pond sent me this one: When You are Tightly Wound.  The whole thing is beautiful and rings OH SO true, especially today. Kate writes,

“There is a lot of mom-shaming around these days despite our best efforts to cover it up with positive op-ed pieces on Huffington Post. Disdain for the working mothers, the home mothers, the breastfeeding or formula or unvaccinated mothers. We shame ourselves into thinking we’re the only ones who are overwhelmed, who cry in the bathroom, who sit in the grocery store parking lot as a “vacation.”

There is no moral to this story except: I see you. I see you out of the corner of my eye feeling tightly wound and it’s okay. Find 30 minutes of silence and remember two things:

1) We are lucky to have kids and most of our organs and dental floss.
2) You hid dark chocolate in the freezer. You can eat it now.”

It came just in time:  after I put two kids to bed and cleaned the kitchen. I sat down, finally to some peace, but its 10:30 and time to start getting ready for bed myself.  Who knows when one of the girls will wake up again, the night like a relay race between small, medium and large beds.  There are wedding registries I should be buying things from. I agreed to copy edit a series of economics articles for a PhD friend to submit to a journal (god help me).  Kate writes,

“Yesterday I went to the grocery store for the fifth time in one week. This is either a sign of hopeless irresponsibility or early onset dementia. I never remember to buy honey.

Somehow there is something on the calendar every day for the next six weeks. Last month I bought a pack of 22 baby hair clips. There are only 7 left. It all feels very tragic.

A list of unfinished projects sits on the stack of Martha Stewart magazines I never read. I want to paint the living room but I don’t know how to paint a living room.

Every week or so someone texts me, “How is your writing going?” “

Elena has been sick for three days so that means I have been full-on mommy. At the doctor I realized her tummy is probably hurting because lately she has been eating mainly plaintains and cheese.  This is not the secret to good digestion.

Then I went to the grocery store, and as wonderfully advanced as these Germans are on affordable day care and child friendly events, the grocery store is a nightmare.

Picture me with a baby strapped on my chest and a tired sick three-year-old sitting in a too-small cart.  I’m unloading all my groceries onto the belt, then packing them into the cart and bags as fast as I can, trying not to drop bottles of oil, wake up the baby, or anger the customers behind me.  No one offers to help.  The cashier tells me she hopes I will not be so stressed.  With all its problems, the ample grocery baggers in the US seems so very civilized.

Yes, life is about grocery stores, baby hair clips, and small bits of poetry you most likely won’t get down.  This is how it is now, and it feels very precious and like a moving train.  Not a high speed one, but one that is shaking and rattling and somehow overflowing with diapers and water bottles and cute baby hats.

Today we were outside sitting in the yard and Elena did not want to go inside.  It was the perfect temperature and the light was pink.  I did not want to go inside either.  So we just drew ice cream cones in pink chalk.

And then even though Elena has been sick, and it was past her bedtime, I took her down the street at dusk to watch the bats.  She has been watching a cartoon version of Stella Luna.   Our favorite part is when the baby bat clings onto the mommy bat’s stomach while she flies.  To me, bats are a sign that the world is still wild, their secret lives in dark corners, their delicate senses, the only mammals that can fly.  They come out when the sun is setting near the river, swooping and flapping and cutting through the sky with wings shaped like knives.


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One Response to Bats, and when you are tightly wound

  1. Linda says:

    How did I miss this one? Since a perfect story of the essence of young mommyland. Exhaustion and chaos and the struggle to get through a day, or just the afternoon. And then these moments of clarity and sweetness. I don’t remember having the patience and introspection that you have.

    I’m glad that you stayed outside late on the evening of the pink light. I can tell you make those choices, by the person that Elena is becoming. Your Grandma Peggy would be so proud of you.

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