The last few years for me have been a time of self discovery. In 2013 I gave birth to my son, Luke. He is my world. I’ve heard that women suffer from postpartum depression long after they give birth. I never gave it much thought. But for some reason I felt like something was missing in my life. Or that I was missing out on life. 6 months after giving birth to Luke I developed a terrible drinking habit. It started off pretty slowly and innocently. Soon after, I began rewarding myself with alcohol. Then, it just spiraled out of control. This went on for about 6 months. I think it just made feel young again. I felt free. As soon as my son fell asleep I would drink. I was drinking heavily every night. It was a vicious circle. One day after being exhausted from hangovers, I felt that I couldn’t live like this anymore. I guess you can say I hit rock bottom.
December 09, 2014 was the day I had my last drink. I am now approaching my two-year anniversary of sobriety and I am in awe at how resilient the body and spirit are. I found my strengths through my weaknesses. The human mind is capable of so much. We push it constantly with our thoughts and emotions. Sometimes to the brink of insanity. The thing that helped me have so much willpower was my son, Luke. Drinking every night was affecting my days. I wasn’t being the best mom that I could be and I knew that. He was getting older and I knew that sooner or later he would begin to understand what was happening and I didn’t want him to ever see me in that condition. He was the one thing that saved me.
I have an extremely neat father-in-law. Cleaning is his obsession. “A place for everything and everything in its place” is his life’s motto. Things are so well taken care of that he has even managed to preserve my husband’s childhood toys that now my son plays with. Of course when he’s done playing with them he puts them back into their assigned bin. They are then stored in the toy closet. Seasonal decor is also stored accordingly and taken out when the holidays come along. Boxes for Christmas decorations, and boxes for wrapping paper. A box or bin for everything. Where does this man find all this time to keep his house so neat and organized? I envy his perfection. I try to emulate his organization skills. But honestly, with two 110LB dogs, a cat, a 3-year-old, and a husband who has the time. I surely don’t. The other day I found a Captain America shield in my tupperware drawer. I keep the house as clean as I can. Cleanliness is most important. But the mess…oh the mess…. I fear it will never dissipate. I have to accept that. But as long as everyone is fed, clean, and healthy then I am content. The mess can wait and so can perfection.
Here’s a terrible picture of Boomer and kitty cat
This morning I dropped my son, Luke, off at school. For the first time, in a long time, he cried as I left. (I think it was because he saw another little boy crying while being ripped from his mother’s arms.) Leaving him there broke my heart. But I knew I had a day full of errands to run. Hedges to trim and whacking of weeds to do. Things that he would definitely not let me start or finish. I got back in my car and turned on the radio to the news station as I always do. As I started driving back home my mind was racing between thoughts. I listen to bits of the news and thought about Luke every few seconds. The news spoke about segregation of public schools in the city and how it has had a terrible impact on children. Then they jumped to news about the current comical presidential race. I listened on and thought about how stressed everything I was listening to was making me. All I could think of was Luke. He’s at a point in life where he doesn’t have to worry about anything. He doesn’t understand what wars are. He has no idea what poverty or starvation are. His thoughts travel between the real and make-believe. I love to watch him not have a care in the world. When did we start caring about serious things? When did we turn off our playful imagination? His innocence amazes me. He sometimes makes me feel like a 3-year-old. (Especially when I am wearing a red wig with a Captain America mask or a way too small Ninja Turtle costume) All the nonsense in the world disappears. He helps me to be more like him. Less serious. Less adult.
Ernest Hemingway once said “We are apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” Every time I write I find myself constantly hitting the backspace key. I know it is a terrible habit. Each sentence that I have written has probably been rewritten about four times. It not only stresses me out but it worsens my constant writer’s block. I know there must be a way to disable the backspace key. However, in doing so, I might end up in a sanatorium. There was once a time when there was no backspace key. In the pre-backspace key era if we made a mistake when writing we would cross it out and continue to write on the same piece of paper. Sometimes we would crumpled it up out of frustration and throw it in the waste basket. When our frustration cooled off we might go retrieve it, flatten out the creases and finish what we started. Hopefully in time I will be able to do the same. Finish what I start without stopping in between. Give my writing a chance and stop second guessing each thing that is written. (BTW just wrote the last sentence three times and this one twice) Whenever I feel like throwing that failed paper into the waste basket I will try to remind myself that writing is just that, a craft. I will become better at it but I have to accept that there will always be errors. But through my many mistakes my writing will be less crumpled and more smooth.