What does it take? / by Christina Rosalie

Sometimes it feels so impossible to do this well: to be a mother and be all that that requires and still do other things. To have days like today when Bean was restless and fussy and probably teething (when he would cry and achieve spectacular meltdowns when I denied him things like the phone or a full pitcher of water) and to keep intact some sense of purpose outside of mothering.

I can’t help feeling anxious: a writing deadline for a workshop I want to take this summer is rapidly approaching. I want it so much my heart aches, and yet, immediately the chorus of doubt starts warming up.

On days like this I lie in the dark of the bedroom nursing Bean for what feels like the umpteenth time, and to grasp at the wisps of images that linger at my mind’s periphery. A new idea for a painting. A handful of possibilities for the manuscript I must write. But when I finally settle down after the laundry has been done, the dishes washed, I am able to locate only tiny fragments.

I try to remember to breathe, to let the hurdy gurdy of my heart play easy music, even when there is hubbub all around, the room strewn with a hundred small things: shoes and toys, books, little snippets.

I try to remember to pause, to let the kite of my soul lift off the ground even when the day brings complication: so many things that are not either/or, that are not simple, that are instead sticky with doubt and exhaustion.

I try to remember to let words be more than the little pieces: linking contents with ingredient, newsprint with the days events, even when I am empty like the broken glass I swept into the dustpan from the kitchen floor.

I try to remember to be patient, to stitch together moments into a mosaic of things that matter: tea & crumb cake with Bean at Barnes & Noble in the morning; buying 79 cent Dagoba chocolate samples and raspberry licorice, fresh naval oranges, milk in a glass jug, and squash & maple ravioli. A half hour to myself (the only time all day) when he finally napped in the afternoon: just me and the cat and more tea on the couch, eyeing Annie Liebovitz's pics in Vanity Fair. And later, reading essays from this collection at the gym.