Friday, January 14, 2011

Surrounding The Moment

There is before The Moment, after The Moment, and The Moment.

Before The Moment there is stress, anxiety, fear, guilt. Cruel hope pervades: maybe we can put off The Moment one more time. Heavy sighs permeate the soul. Disbelief occurs before The Moment: how did I get here so quickly? Wasn't it just yesterday that…? But of course it wasn't just yesterday. Or, it WAS, but it was also last year, and the years that preceded that one. Back into time, before your life became what it is, so far back that you can barely recognize that life and the one you live now as actually belonging to the same person. And the guilt, the crushing guilt, is almost unbearable. Beating yourself up for past mistakes, harsh words, flattened palms that did not stroke, but struck. Odd, how close those words are. You try to convince yourself that abandonments from long ago were necessary, that they were protectionist. But that's all bullshit, really. What you want to do is apologize, take it back. "If I could have it to do again!" you say…but of course, you don't have it to do again. There is only now. Before The Moment. And it is terrible.

After The Moment there is grief, loss, emptiness, release. Tears come unbidden, seemingly without any provocation. Everything seems too bright, hard-edged. The soft world you'd become accustomed to is thrown into disarray. Nothing is as it was, and you are adrift without sight of land. But there is deep-seated thanks, as well. Thanks for what has come before, all the years before. Thanks that you have been able to give this one last, final gift. Melancholy happiness creeps in, happiness that The Moment is behind you, and there is only forward now. Time will heal, tears will stop, grief becoming acceptance becoming rosy memory.

And then, there is The Moment. It exists like the event horizon around a black hole, allowing only one direction of motion. The Moment is both a known quantity and completely unpredictable, and you shudder at the impossibility of that dichotomy. You say: "I know what will happen in The Moment, from point X to point Y to point Z." But that knowing does nothing to prepare you for its arrival, when anything might happen, any emotional rollercoaster might zip you around hidden curves. You cannot see the track ahead, and that is what makes The Moment so unbearable.

What we survive for is after The Moment. What we dread with black anticipation happens before The Moment. And The Moment is the nexus of hope and dread, light and dark, fulfillment and emptiness. There is power in The Moment, power we not only cannot control, but ultimately cannot even understand. And we weep for our smallness when measured against it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Mystery of the Blue Monsters

So, apparently, in utter defiance of our stated goals and actions, Miss Tessmacher and I have managed to fuck things up. Not with each OTHER, of course; no worries there! No, what we seem to be fucking up is parenthood. Here's the deal:

The Rozzle, for nigh 2-1/2 years, has been a fantastic sleeper. Titanic, 3-hour naps. In bed by 7:00(ish), sleep without waking until dawn. Which was only problematic during the high summer when Tess and I wished to sleep beyond, say, 5:30am. Always a little put off by schedule changes, Roz nevertheless rolled effortlessly through 6 weeks this past summer of sleeping alternately at Unnamed Northern Music Camp, Grandma's, G & Papa's, the Island, a tent, and, oh yeah, home. Not. A problem.

This winter break, the schedule went all to shit like it usually does: we're home for 4 solid weeks, school is out for HER for two weeks, there's no dance class, and all this Christmas shit all over the place. Well. Santa decided it was time for a big-girl bed for Roz, and he made a great present of it, replete with flannel Disney sheets and a brand-new quilt from G to top it off. Wonderful!

Or…not so much. I dismantled her toddler bed on the 26th and set up the twin. She napped in it that day & slept in it that night. On the 27th we went to Grandma's, and she napped in the car on the way. As usual. When bedtime came there, she went down, no problem whatsoever. In fact, she slept in SO late the next morning, there was no real reason to put her down for a nap; we'd only finished breakfast by 10:30, so she wasn't gonna want lunch so soon, and to go down for a nap at noon meant she'd only been awake for something like 3 hours! So, skipped nap that day. Unusual, but not unheard of. Next day (the 29th, for those of you who've lost count) was a trip home, and again, as usual, she napped almost the whole way.

And then…it begins. Fighting the nap. "I…don't…wanna…take…a nap!" Fighting bedtime. "Mom, don't leave." Worse and worse, seemingly out of nowhere, until we finally figured out that maybe the big-girl bed was just too much change, Santa had got it wrong, yadda yadda. We asked her if she wanted her old bed back, and she said yes. So, apart comes the twin, back goes the converted crib, and I'm thinking "Okay, glory, no worries now. Everything's back to normal, the Christmas shit is all put away, it's like the last few weeks never happened. WHEW!"

Right? WRONG! Still fighting the nap, wants to sleep in the spare bed or our bed. Won't let us leave at bedtime until she's fully asleep, and then without fail wakes at 2:00am calling "Mom? Mom?" Checking on her reveals that she's scared. "It's scary in here, Dad." I try to suss out why, reminding her that it's her room, where she's always slept, her bed, all her things, the safest place in the house…you get the drill. Nope. "I'm scared that the blue monsters will come and try to eat my blankie." I'd laugh, but that it's now 2:15 and I'm up at 6:00 to go back to work! I try logic: "Honey, there are no monsters." (You there! Bumble! Shut your toothless pie-hole, you ain't helpin'!) I try disarmament: "Sweetie, the only blue monsters you've ever seen are Grover and Cookie, and THEY'RE not scary, are they?" (Hey, Thog, who let you in here?! Get your 10' height right on back out the door. NOT. HELPING.) In order to get any sleep at all, I or Tess give in and bring her into the spare bed to sleep. Just so we can all get SOME sleep!

So…the fuck did the blue monster scare come from??? Is it a phase? Did we screw up her schedule so much that she's reverted and doesn't know how to stay asleep anymore? Please. He'p me.