Ice Queen

I love icy mornings, especially when I don’t have to drive anywhere. I do have to go to the store today, but maybe it will thaw a little.

I put the Pie down for her nap, and had one of those magical moments as she was nursing, both hands on my breast, drifting off to sleep. I wish I had had a camera to capture that moment. I tried to commit it to memory, but I think I’ll take my camera to bed next time. I think that’s why I like to take pictures. So I can remember those moments, look at them, feel their warmth, even when the memory is gone.

After getting the Pie down I grabbed my camera and headed out into the frigid air to take a couple shots right around my house.

It’s not a lot of ice, just a thin, crunchy layer that frosts everything and makes it sparkle.

I love that rough, crunch sparkle.DSC_0532

And I love how it occludes the windshield. Then when you climb in the car to turn it on and grab your scraper you get that dark, cocoony moment of being snowed-in.DSC_0513 

And you can see the neighbors running their heat.DSC_0515 

And the air holds the chill making the sun draw lines to the ground.DSC_0517 

And the ice on the roads makes criss-crossing lines. DSC_0520 

Speaking of which…

I remember being on the bus in 5th grade and seeing one of the boys in my class get on the bus with his clothes on backward. I was so confused. Those boys look so young now. Whatever happened to them?

And we’re back. The trees hold the crisp air on their fingers.DSC_0522

And the air just looks cold. DSC_0524 

The fountain is a skating rink for little birds.DSC_0528

And the bushes seem to shrink into themselves, guarding against the cold.DSC_0531 And I’m going to slink back into my house, hunker down with my tea, be a Company Girl,  and continue on my house search.

We’re going to look at some houses tomorrow. There’s one that I think I like, but it has had two pending sales in the past few months that both fell through after inspection. I wish we could know what was wrong before we even bother looking. The house was built in 1998 though – how bad can it be?

Cute, right?blue house I’m pretty good at finding all the flaws if I’m given some time to be in the house. I have an eye for what’s wrong or out of place. But I know the agents want to whisk you through so you can only see the superficial, the staged.

Maybe we should just buy the house we’re renting. It needs some work, and the commute isn’t pleasant for the mountain man, but he could take the train (which would add about an hour to his day, but if he could get credit for time he was able to work on the train it would actually shorten his day…) and we know exactly what the flaws are… but would I really be OK with living here, an hour away from my beloved city, my friends, and all my volunteer work?

Maybe I’ll just sip tea and look out the window and enjoy the ice instead of thinking about any of this.

I’ve been reading some of the books for the postpartum doula program, and found myself reading and wanting to shout “YES! That’s exactly it!” at so many points. I’m reading about how babies are designed to be held, how they need that touch for comfort and physiological systems regulation. But in traditional cultures (and I’m talking tradition in the sense of human history, not modern American tradition) mothers had a tribe or a village full of women able to help hold that baby. Mamas weren’t alone at home for weeks on end holding, rocking, feeding, cleaning, and then trying to take care of the house too, all by themselves. There were people around. In our society, where we’re supposed to be so independent, not need help from anyone, able to care for ourselves and our families without outside assistance, the feelings of overwhelm, inadequacy, and exhaustion are supposed to be hidden. We have to fix our hair, put on our make-up, wear a dress (with nylons and heels) and be perfectly put together, perfectly in control, and managing everything on our own. And then when we have those “why did we do this again?” moments, we’re not supposed to talk about it, even to our partners, because people may think we’re ungrateful, neglectful, bad mothers.

We’re not. We’re just tired. And alone, and there are millions of other mothers – around the country,  in our state, our cities, even our own neighborhoods - who are tired and alone too. Maybe down the street, maybe even right next door. But alone. Because we’re supposed to put on the happy face and do it by ourselves. And culturally, we define ourselves by our accomplishments, our activities, our hobbies beyond our babes – so we become less attached to our little ones as we strive to keep these definitions of ourselves alive, valid. And then we resent their need. And I try to do so many things, all while trying to keep my babe at my chest.

Reading all these books, and remembering all these feelings, makes me so sad to think that this is how it is for mamas, alone, trying to do it all, to keep a sense of our former selves, and keep our babes happy. And it’s not how we’re designed.

Maybe I shouldn’t be trying to do so much – work, volunteering, looking for a house, school. But I want to feel like more than a mama. I can’t help it. I hope that my honesty about how it is for me helps someone who is sitting alone at home and feeling like they can’t do it all, are all alone, and tired. I am, too, but plowing through.

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