It's been hard getting Colin to go to sleep on his own and, until recently, I've endured it. I've tried to remember that this period of my Son's life is brief and, it's best to do what he needs, even if it comes at a cost. I mean, forgoing your own needs for your child(ren) is kind of what you sign up for, whether you know it or not, when you become a parent. That doesn't mean that parenting is easy or that everything you do as a parent is desired but, in my opinion, that is the covenant I made with myself when I thought of having a child, what I still think of now that I am a parent. It was so much easier to make promises and have ideals when I didn't actually have a baby.
Colin isn't sleeping long, without me. If Colin and I do not leave the house and play, usually ending with a car ride home where he falls asleep, I have to nap with him. Colin will nurse, tossing from one breast to another, acrobatically, until he finally burns off the energy and then he'll fall asleep, staying on my breast until his mouth relaxes or, I pull my nipple from his mouth. Colin will remain in the crook of my arm, snuggled close, at least one leg on my legs and a hand on my chest, even after he is fast asleep. It's the same way when bedding down for the night.
I used to be able to nurse Colin to sleep while I lay on the couch, watching Prime Time television shows. Mark would take Colin from my arms when he was finally asleep and take him upstairs to lie in his crib. Colin would wake an hour or two in and Mark would go back upstairs, pat Colin on the back for five minutes to put him back to sleep and then join me, once again, downstairs. Lately, that routine has changed. Colin stays awake. The television distracts him. If Colin is tired enough, sometimes Mark can walk him to sleep but mostly, Colin just stays awake waiting for me to take him upstairs for, "Night-Night".
It seems like it has been so long since Colin would go to sleep around eight p.m., sleep for four hours and then wake about midnight, when Mark and I would come upstairs to go to bed anyway. In those four hours, Mark and I got to enjoy being adults without having to be cognizant of our child, his needs, desires, wants. Mark and I would do our own thing or, spend some time together but we haven't been able to lately and, it has worn me down.
Last night, the culmination of all of my frustration with myself, the situation, Colin's changing needs and things going on in our family. I just felt that I couldn't take it anymore and I melted down or, erupted or, both.
Somehow, I managed to get Colin to sleep and he slept for a little while, on his own, upstairs in his bed. I started to talk with Mark about everything that I was frustrated with until I decided I needed to get away.
I walked outside, enjoying the night breeze, Husband on my heels and I just wanted to be alone. Finally, I went somewhere he couldn't follow me, I went to the downstairs bathroom and locked the door.
Mark sternly demanded I open the door and I said, "NO" and then I pleaded with him to just let me be, leave me alone, let me have space and time to myself.
Sitting in the dark, on the bathmat, I cried. I sobbed. I poured out all of the sadness and anger and hurt and frustration and then...
I started laughing...kind of maniacally. I couldn't hold it in. It felt as good to laugh no, better, than it did to cry and it let the steam escape. Once I let it all out, I sat in the dark, on the bathmat, quietly and I completely gave up.
I gave up who I am, what I am, everything I cared about and stressed about and became, "Nothing" and, "No One".
I ceased to be Beckie. I ceased to be a wife who often feels like a handful and a disappointment. I ceased to be a Mother and let go of all the failings and guilt that I carry. I ceased thoughts of the past and future. I didn't even really think about the Present. I ceased it all and, just was. I was not even a grain of sand in time, I was, "No One" and, "Nothing". I floated in the dark but, it was not an unfriendly, scary dark, it was comforting, warm, womblike, and free.
It felt incredibly good, right, and joyful. If I was a Buddhist, I believe that I obtained Zen in that moment.
Through the door, I tried to explain this to Mark and he had trouble understanding at first and, he may not even entirely understand but, that's okay with me. I don't need him to. I didn't need anything in that moment. I just was.
I cannot even be sad or feel reproach for getting to this point, for having this moment. Instead, I feel exhilarated that it happened.
I didn't know my Sanctuary would have a toilet and a door lock but, it does. I hope I don't need to retreat to it like I did last night but, I know that it's there. Not so much the room but, the state of mind and being.
In the calm, Mark told me, "You know you're not crazy, right?" and I said, "Yeah" and he said, "but there are a lot of other Mom's who feel the way you do. Probably more than you think." and I said, "Yeah".
That was the icing on the cake.
I had Zen.
I had Zen.
6 months ago