The Longest Month

My ladies.

Boo toppled off a booster seat, helpless. Her gyrating arms reached for me but missed — this is a scene I still replay in my head daily, even now, a month later. I was too slow, dull, and exhausted to save my own daughter from crashing to the ground.

Thanks, O ye Fates — like I really needed that metaphor.

The past two months, since Working Mom’s maternity leave ended, have been the hardest, most isolated of my life. Trying to take care of two kids and a house and a spouse — well, it hasn’t worked out so well.

On my best days, I’m only a fraction as attentive to the baby as I was with Boo at this age. We’ll be lucky if the Blueberry ever crawls, given how rarely we manage tummy time.

And Boo? She’s resilient, but I’m made a little nervous by a sudden proliferation of imaginary friends. Now, Joey and Petey and Dodo don’t just visit, they’ve started to possess Boo’s body, Voldemort-like. Spooky.

Failure and exhaustion aside, though, these past weeks have brought me some real moments of joy. Sitting with the girls at a cafe is possible again, and the baby seems to really love the outdoors, too. Now that’s why I went into this line of work.

I’m becoming expert at asking for favors, too. I owe enough casseroles and return babysitting to fill my 2013 calendar, but my friends’ help makes the present day bearable.

And, of course, I know these few months when our newborn is constantly needy and our toddler only vaguely independent are chqllenging but brief. As the days pass, things will only get easier — I’m cresting the biggest of the hills right about now.

And that knowledge comforts me enough to make up for the loss of my writing time and my house projects, of time in my garden. I will read a book again someday.

And Boo crashed to the floor having miraculously avoided hitting her head on another table. A few minutes of comforting and two dumb jokes later and we were back, happy, crisis over. Boo had learned that she doesn’t like those booth-style booster seats with no straps My lesson was that nearly every dark time passes by, usually replaced by something even brighter than before.

And so, here I am, back again a little bruised, and still very worn out, but maybe just a little wiser.