The Load I Choose to Carry

mama and benThe skin around my finger has been bitten away. People always think I am glamorous when I have my nails done all the time, but the truth is I have to get them done, otherwise my hands become a reflection of the overly anxious, can’t-let-it-drop, nervous, thiiiiiisss close to breaking down, person I actually am.

These days my anxiousness is much more about the pressure I place on myself. Every day. To be something more than I currently am. To be a better mom. To be a better wife. To be a better employee. To be a better sister, friend, daughter, relative, member of society at large. And there are days where that task seems like a mighty river to cross.

I look in the mirror and see the wrinkles getting longer and deeper. The grays becoming more prominent and the clothing size becoming larger or at least not getting smaller.

I find myself completely focused on the status of my son’s teeth, and not at all able to read a newspaper cover story, much less an entire paper from front to back (tell me what the arts section is like again?).

I walk by the pile of bills on the counter and do the mental calculations of when I have to pay them, on what dates they are due, the even greater calculations of when the various utilities will get really mad I haven’t paid them yet, multiplied by when we get paid, divided by how far we can stretch things this month. It gives me pause because I know I have a certain luxury that I can even figure out how to make sure the bills get paid and why am I not more grateful?

Sometimes the sadness of realizing, as new parents with a toddler, you have stopped being included in invitations to social events, makes one feel even worse. Is it due to the fact that your main points of conversation revolve around the consistency of your son’s poop or the fact that you have to, without warning, cancel 85% of the time because you do not have a regular babysitter?

So I struggle. And worry about how I can become better. At quiet moments, which thanks to me purposely getting up ridiculously early just so I can take a shower every day, I still have, I spend much of my time pontificating about the ways in which I  can wake up, smooth my wrinkles, work out, lose a few pounds, return all those texts and emails in a timely manner, call my loved ones, hang out with friends, give to charity, read a book, pay the bills, make doctor’s appointments, cook dinner and get a good nights rest, all well wearing my cutest PJ’s.

In my real life moments, I still get up early and shower, but most days the wrinkles are even more prominent, I am suffering from a hefty case of an insomnia hangover and wearing my husband’s old sweatpants. I don’t workout, haven’t dropped a pound, sometimes I remember to call my mom, read my Facebook newsfeed and look longingly at my friends in pictures and remember when.

The thing is this though, last night, as I was sleeping. I had a wonderful dream. And it was so simple and pure and even thinking about it now makes me smile. It was simply my son, laying on me, napping and snuggling. I was of course jolted back to reality, because he is toddler and never sits still, but I remembered that all of my worries, concerns and fears do not seem to phase him, whether in reality or in my dreams, because I choose to carry those with me and keep him at peace and that is all that I need to be.

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