I got sick of writing and wanted to use Everett’s nap time as nap time for me. The past week I have been so tired, and feel so guilty because I’m actually getting sleep at night. It’s hard to remember the beginning months of getting up and up and feeding and changing diapers. And my nightmares with pumping and handling mastitis in the wee hours of the morning with heating pads and ice packs and hot showers. And only a half hour of sleep every two hours.
Everett is of course not taking the two two hour naps a day anymore, but napping isn’t such a stuggle. I don’t want to get caught up in telling you about schedules and how long he sleeps for—remember, this is my space to talk to you about much more important things. And I don’t ever want another mother to read what Everett does/doesn’t do and feel bad. Because every time I read an online blog about sleep or eating or development, the guilt and inadequacy creeps in, like I don’t know how to properly care for him.
Last week Chris and I got into our first “real” fight, one where I told him not to come home after work. The next morning he returned, but stayed in the basement. And no our basement isn’t finished or nice. It’s a basement. That night he slept on the family room couch and in the morning, I wrote down directions for Everett and said I was leaving for the day.
In retrospect I was being really mean, but I was really mad.
For my place of escape, I went over to Dad’s. I walked in and he said, “You want breakfast?” and I told him yes as I sat down on one of the island benches. With no questions asked, like no time had passed, he started making an eagel bagel (ham egg and cheese). I felt taken care of, and my heart swelled with a warm familiar recognition; that was what I ate every Saturday morning growing up.
Remember our family breakfasts on weekends? Dad always made eggs and bacon and bagels on Saturdays and Sundays were for pancakes or waffles. I always woke up to him down in the kitchen, making coffee, opening and closing drawers and the stereo playing. I’d walk down my attic room steps, lean over the banister and see him down there, doing his thing. And we’d eventually all flock downstairs, requesting what we wanted to eat. You would buzz around in one of Dad’s t-shirts, cleaning and giving orders.
Even in the early morning, with your messy hair and bare face, you were so beautiful.
There is a collection of about thirty DVDs at Dad’s and I watch them almost every time I go over there. They are absolutely such a treasure to have–evidence that yes, our lives really were what we remember them to be before you got sick. And a reminder that yes, you really were as gorgeous as we all remember. How you fixed your hair, makeup….how you dressed. You were so confident in yourself, and I have you to thank for teaching me the importance of self-love and confidence.
Seeing those videos makes me feel pressure though, to create such a love nest here at my home. A place that always has good meals and is never dirty and is always positive, because that is what you did.
Then I dig a little deeper, and remember that our house wasn’t always perfect and you were not always cheerful. And you yelled a lot.
I remember sometimes having scrambled eggs for dinner on nights that Dad was away or you just didn’t want to cook. I remember our normalcy. I remember the chaos and the sibling fights and even you and me screaming at each other on a daily basis.
But there was so much love, and I understand now that that’s what it’s all about.
Honestly those weekends are some of my greatest memories and such a big part of who I am. We were together.
And I’m not just remembering it all like it was so lovely-it was lovely. I hope I can give my children the kind of childhood I had. That’s truly my honest wish and what feels like a part of my life’s purpose right now: to pay homage to you and Dad, to create siblings for Everett so my kids always have each other, and to love and covet my husband through our fights, our triumphs and our lessons.