Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The New Normal

It shouldn’t be this easy. I sometimes complain about things that are perceived as hard, but really it’s pretty damn easy. And it shouldn’t be, you know? The easiness of it, the utter effortlessness in which things happen now makes me anxious. There should be a shoe. And it should be dropping, or it should’ve dropped some time ago. But it doesn’t drop, and so I don’t trust it, any of it, her, me, him, life. And yet somehow, I do, I have to.

Three years ago it was not this easy. Not even remotely. It was the most opposite of easy as anything has ever been. And I can never forget the heartbreak, and not just one heartbreak, a thousand heartbreaks that happened over and over again. It was the thing that never made me trust that anything could ever be considered normal ever again. I should try to block those mistrusting associations, but I can’t. I can never forget because in order to honor my son, I feel compelled to remember. In fact, the little things I can’t remember feel like little heartaches themselves. Certain medication names, surgery names have started to fade when I try to recall them. They come slow if they come at all. I still have all his records, I could look it up if I really wanted to, but that’s not the point. I feel haunted by memories of him and I feel haunted by the things I can’t remember about him. It all stays with me especially when it doesn’t stay with me.

I especially remember when I started to trust that things would be normal, and that’s exactly when normal disappeared from our lives forever, never to return again, replaced by uncertainty and heartache, and tears and exhaustion and everything that came after was definitely not normal.

But now? Now we’re in a new kind of normal, a normal where I’m finally trusting that if I fall asleep I’ll find that tiny body still in its crib, still breathing. I didn’t have this normal and I can’t trust this new normal. I’m starting to, but trust is hard-won. I still don’t trust myself to be the mother she needs me to be properly, because I still feel insecure in the mother I was with him. Was I enough for him? Was I really all that he needed me to be? He’s not around for me to ask him and get a proper answer.

So I don’t trust anything, not really. Given our history with car rides, it took me forever to relinquish my guard in the back seat next to her car seat. Chris had to coax me into switching seats. The anxiety I felt the day I finally sat in the front seat was crushing. It got easier. It’s still not simple though. Not really. Taking her anywhere by myself was terrifying, like anxiety attack terrifying. How on earth should I be expected to this on my own? I never could before, was never expected to before, and yet I did. Now it feels easy, not second-nature, not like breathing, but easy. At nights, I put her to sleep in the bedroom, alone. I listen to her via a baby monitor. This was not even in the realm of possibility once and now it’s commonplace in my life, it’s normal, it’s easy.

It sucks that it’s easy. I don’t want it to be easy. I don’t want it to be comfortable, because that’s when that other shoe will drop and our wonderful, incredible normal of now will become a new, much harder normal. I can’t trust easy. I can’t trust comfortable. I still worry that I can’t trust myself, although its getting easier to trust myself to enjoy it. That too was hard-won. But now, I see that smile, I hear that infectious giggle and I smile and giggle and feel alive and happy, and loving this normal, loving it so much. I just want to trust that it will be here to stay.


Sandisan said...

I've never had the kind of tragedy you have, and I'm sorry you had to go through it. I've never had children, but I have had cats, and I've had a few die. We had one kitty who liked to play with the plastic ring from milk jugs. I'd call to him and when he wandered by, I'd start pulling the plastic tab and he'd suddenly spring to attention. I'd pull it off really slowly and then suddenly throw it over his head, and he'd leap and run and play and it was so dang cute you couldn't stand it. Now I'll see a plastic tab and sometimes think of him and smile.

I know it's not the same, trust me. But maybe someday you'll be able to smile, too. And I've had a long life of being unhappy and it's kind of my default. As things have gotten better over the years, it's really hard to trust that things are better and adjust to that. It feels like a betrayal of my inner curmudgeon to ever be happy.

Well, I'm rambling. All of that is to say that I feel ya.

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Thanks Sandisan. I know you've got my back. And that sounds like the cutest darn cat ever! Sorry He's Gone. Sniffle.

Laura Zera said...

It sounds like you've gone through some pretty hellish times, and I can understand why the 'happy' lends itself to fears of its fleeting nature. I actually have to work at allowing myself to believe that happy is here to stay, that I deserve it, that the other shoe isn't going to drop. I think if a person can get to that place of ease, it opens the door for more happy to come, and other cool opportunities to show up as well. But it's not always easy, I hear you on that.

The Bloody Munchkin said...

Thanks Laura. After seeing the myriad ways in which life can go wrong, it's hard to believe how right it's going. I'm sure the older my daughter gets, the more I'll be able to trust that happiness is here to stay, but it's still tough to believe.