Monday, May 08, 2006

Just Stop

M and I agreed that my rage had become detrimental to family life. Change was in order. But what to change? Our schedule? M's work life? Child care arrangments? Couldn't I just stop being a mother for awhile?

I took some concrete steps to let go of what was ailing me (except, of course, my kids). The first thing I let go of was chores after 9 pm. Having surmounted the chore of getting the kids to bed, I let that be enough for the day. I went to bed with a book for one whole hour. I found that nothing bad happened when I did this.

The next hurdle was mornings. Mornings were terrible for me. I spread my malaise all over the place. I made everyone know how much I resented their needs. I stomped. I slammed I yelled. One morning, fed up with my attitude, M said, "Why don't I just take the kids to the office this morning, so you can go to your room or whatever it is you need to do."

I paused while putting away a box of cereal. "I have to go to my room?" I joked.

"Why does Mommy have to go to her room?" J asked from the table.

“I hope you’re not just trying to make a point,” I said to M. “Because I’ll take you up on it.”

Then the doorbell rang and A had a poopy diaper and the dangling conversation was lost in the crush of small demands. I tried to brush my teeth and go to the bathroom, which was impossible because I had to answer the door again and watch A while my husband disappeared upstairs with Mister J.

I began tremble. My eyes filled with tears. I began to fear I would vomit. I dumped the baby at M's feet and fled to the basement to lie on the couch.

I inhaled the cool air. I lay there in the dark thinking, What is wrong with me? What should I do about this? Can I just buck up and let M do his work today?

But my brain couldn’t compute what bucking up might look like, so I stayed in this mental loop for awhile. I listened dispassionately to the thumping and whining and scuffling going on above me.

Then I heard the front door close. For at least an hour, I couldn’t bring myself to move or care what had become of my family.

I could do nothing.

I went to my room. I knew it was time to call in the big guns. I promised to phone my doctor as soon as I could speak again. For the moment, I pulled the down comforter up to my eyeballs and waited for something to happen.

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