Breathing room, or lack thereof

I've been issued a court-legislated restraining order from my dear darling daughter. And by that I mean Daryl just got home after a day at work, and having had received a number of texts from me containing a long list of expletives, he all but stuffed my feet into my boots and shoved me out the door so that I could take care of myself and pick up my scattered pieces. Today started out completely fine, and then transformed into an afternoon of me grasping desperately at straws in order to gather my Qi and become zen, then failing miserably, then opting out of even trying anymore whatsoever. This afternoon in its final form turned into an angry mess of noise while Margot bawled her eyes out on and off for hours, and I yelled back at her as if I was ever going to win a contest by making my voice louder than hers.

It's amazing how I can hear a voice travel through my head on repeat telling me not to let my own emotions rise up, match or rival those of a cranky toddler - and yet disregard it wholly while my heart screams back that I do not care - and it does so with great indignation - because right now I'm angry and she's angry and the angrier we are the angrier we get and yes it's very loud in here but WE'RE JUST BEING HONEST ABOUT HOW WE FEEL. And honest communication is the pillar of any good and healthy relationship, right?

And because correct me if I'm wrong, but is there anybody else in this house at this moment who's here to deal with this girl? Or to whisk me away to a cloud of pillows and feathers and billows of dry ice, then take over my role as mother and comforter and disciplinarian and supporter and teacher and nose-blower and tear-wiper and and and and and...?

And if a tree falls in the forest, will a toddler who only napped for 45 minutes today express any notion of level-headedness or rationality when there's a blanket touching her arm (the nerve) or when her sippy cup isn't placed precisely in the south-west corner of her crib? NO. The answer is no. So if another tree falls in the forest, I just don't care. It turns out that today I'm inevitably going to err on the side of extremely and overtly irrational in my response. I'll issue a formal apology later. But for now, I'm stewing and decompressing. Because I'm lucky enough to have a husband who throws me out the front door, throw a handful of cash at me, and tells me to take the laptop and sit at Caribou Coffee while he insists that I don't dare walk back in the door a minute before dinner at 6:30.

Okay. Deep breaths.

I'm still a post-miscarriage pile of crap. Did you get that notion? I'm not writing frequently enough, I'm not nurturing my heart or my soul enough, and I've essentially turned into a sedentary lump that wafts between feeling like a firefly trapped in a mason jar, and like a sedentary lump.

And how dare I yell and stew and swear and frown and stomp and whimper when I share my home and my life with this person?

I blew the dust off my camera the other day and took pictures of this heart-stoppingly beautiful human being; of this little person who nuzzles into my neck and tells me of her own accord that she loves me "so muts" and who laughs and dares me to tickle her armpits and who eats her weight in yogurt as though it's going extinct tomorrow and who dances with fervor to Sia's Chandelier and Toto's Rosanna and pretty much anything by Justin Timberlake.

Being a parent is an overwhelmingly wild ride. Raising a child demands of us every fiber of energy we possess, and then squeezes us harder at exactly the moment that we start to relent. It calls us to exercise superhuman levels of patience and humility, and to show unending grace even at our very weary worst, and somehow - somehow - raises us up all the while to do every one of these things with great and tireless love.

Even when we need to put our boots and coats on and lie down in the street and roll ourselves along down the road and drag our bodies by our cold and determined fingers to the nearest refuge / coffee shop for a series of long, deep breaths.