Thursday, August 18, 2005

In Moments of Despair, Trying to Remember

The last few days have been especially tough. Bills are mounting and I find myself having to decide which ones to pay. Add to that the constant difficulty from my son's dad (use condoms, everyone, so you don't have to deal with an ex FOREVER) and my general anxiety over my own loneliness and the sound of the wolves at the door. I miss my family so much and the court order states that our son must reside in San Diego County (where my son's dad moved for work and where I moved when he promised me things he has yet to deliver), and the only way to change that is for my son's dad to agree to move, and he refuses to even consider moving back home (not as far away as you might think, but far enough that I feel isolated) for at least two years, and he won't budge, despite my begging, and he won't say why.

Yes, things will look up eventually. They have to, and they will. For now I'm reminded of a poem I wrote when my son was about one year old. I have to try to find the hope and beauty in the small things. I'm sure it's there. I'm just having trouble seeing it at the moment.


Not a whole lot in life
turns out the way
you imagined it would.

You envision tucking in
your two adopted children
(Song and Kim),
with your curly-haired, strapping,
helluvaguy husband, and
returning to the cozy glow
of your feng shui dream of a living room
in your tree-sheltered Craftsman home
somewhere up north
to make slow, passionate love
on the rug in front of the fireplace,
feeling content with the dining room table,
already decorated with multiple place settings
for the many laughing relatives
expected the next day for Thanksgiving dinner.

This is the dream that soothed you to sleep
when all things were still possible.

Instead you lie awake at night in bed,
watching “Friends” reruns with the sound off—
you've practically memorized all the episodes anyway—
listening to the whine of the new vaporizer
(the first one broke inexplicably
after only a few uses)
because your son has that weird, phlegmy-rattly cold
in your parents' house,
in your childhood bedroom, no less,
idly fingering your year-old stretch marks
and flabby belly
that you haven't bothered to do anything about
YET (you tell yourself)
because somehow that project took a back seat
to going to therapy and
trying to “make things work”
with your son's dad
(don't even get me started—
it wouldn't be the whole story anyway—
it never is, it never is)
and showering
and shopping
and changing diapers
and crying
and longing
and breathing,
don't forget to breathe.

(You hope this is all fictional;
you couldn't bear it if it were true, of course.)

And in the midst of all this,
your sleeping, slightly wheezing
utters a single baby-syllable
and you turn away from the TV
and you curl around him some more
and he awakens
(that heart-shaped face!),
sits up,
rubs his eyes and sways

and chooses you as his soft place to fall...

and you think:
this is what I imagined;
this is my idea of beautiful.

— 2002