God! You know, at my age, I still feel like such a child, a complete idiot, for not being able to just "get over" things that hurt me to my core, even if it's been years and years since the thing happened.
Everyone, especially those from the Boomer generation (is it offensive to you if it's true?), scoffs and says that to me about everything that still hurts me. These are the people - the scoffers, not all Boomers - who know nothing about child development, of course. Deep wounds that are cut early sometimes never heal.
But, like lovely Jewel, I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way.
Last night, I was doing some research for a so-far-secret new project and was peeping at an Instagram account I didn't even know I was following. (By the way, I mean no harm or negativity to or about the people involved, whom I will mention momentarily, but as it's the current vogue trend to say, I was absolutely "triggered."
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DESERT DAD MODE: UNLOCKED. ✅🔥🙌🏼 This is the second night in a row that I’ve spent the night shift with my little prince @taztripp. 🌙 I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not known for my ability to burn the proverbial midnight oil, I’ve definitely always been a “I need to get at least 8 hours” type of guy, and leading up to Taz’s birth we were unsure how I’d be able to handle having a little party animal that keeps us up at night. Well, in the past two days since we’ve been home with our little man, I’ve wanted to break my sleep weakness and care for Taz so @sassyredlipstick can get much needed and well deserved sleep. After all, just days ago she pushed this nearly 9 pound, broad-shouldered boss baby out of her body unmedicated and is still healing from that, not to mention she’s breastfeeding this little guy like twenty times a day because he’s got the appetite of a champion and I think it goes without saying that her nips are more than a little tender... you get the picture. Mothers are the ones with all the difficult responsibilities so I’m very intent on taking as much off her plate as possible in this new venture as parents. 💙🙏🏼 The first night I stayed up with a crying Taz was scary and a little frustrating trying to decipher what he needed. But even just 24 hours later we’re starting to get the hang of what this little guy needs. 😌 So in the wee hours of this morning, Sarah spent an hour breastfeeding Taz in our bedroom until she couldn’t keep her eyes open. I took him into the nursery and he did the same thing as last night, crying until 3am. But this time I did not panic. I changed his diaper, I swaddled him tight just like @sassyredlipstick and @shan.tripp taught me, then I went into the kitchen and prepared a bottle of Sarah’s liquid gold breast milk that she had pumped earlier in the day using the luxury, state-of-the-art @willowpump that literally looks like a pair of robot breasts from the future. After testing out the temperature on my wrist like I see the nice moms do on TV, I fed my beautiful boy until he drifted off to sleep with the cutest, milk drunk smile. (Swipe to see the video.) 🍼🥰 What a wonderful night. 💙 #TazTripp #DesertDad
So, like I said, I wasn't aware I was even following this verified blue-checked (for whatever that's worth) @Tripp dude on the 'gram, and I know virtually nothing about him, but I probably got there by going down yet another rabbit hole. (Probably, my arse. I just figured it out, but never mind.) Irrelevant. I was doing that research and landed on this particular post about his second night up with his new son @TazTripp, who is darling, of course, so that Mr. Tripp could let his wife Sarah aka @sassyredlipstick (whom I now also follow out of temporary heightened curiosity to see whether I like or am not fond of their overall presence on the platform. I'm leaning toward the latter, but like I said, it isn't personal, just research) rest from giving birth.
Kudos to him for that. Hands-on daddies are the best. I know this because I watched Rob do it multiple times, and yes he was definitely the best.
[Can you follow all my punctuation plot-changes? Because I've always done that. I've also always had to re-read each thing 30 times to make sure it made sense, at least in that instant. My mind is so annoying.]
Okay, that's great! I'm all about babies; I've said endlessly over the years that I would have had a hundred more if I could have, and just spent all my days picking up one and loving on him or her, then putting that babe down and picking up the next one, and so on. Sarah's breastfeeding, and I'm 100% supportive of that, too. Full-on love affair with breastfeeding, nature's perfect mammal baby food. She's also curvy, confident, and they're both very body-positive, which is still incredible even as we head into 2020. So I mean, while I don't get their "desert fortune" vibe even a little bit, just from what I've seen after a somewhat brief perusing is genuine, sweet, true love. And I applaud them for that.
But this was n.o.t. really about the Tripp family at all.
In the post above, when I got to the line where Tripp writes, " just days ago she pushed this nearly 9 pound, broad-shouldered boss baby out of her body unmedicated and is still healing from that," I was suddenly hit with an emotional grenade. My lungs suddenly forgot how to breathe, and I don't think I was aware of anything my five senses were doing at the moment, either. I remember I got up out of my chair in the office here, brought something that needed to go downstairs out to the ledge in the hallway, and then I just didn't move.
Or couldn't move, I really don't know.
And then I became aware that I was about to start sobbing the cries of a woman who desperately wanted this thing, this one thing in her whole damn life, to go even remotely according to her plan... and it didn't resemble that plan at all. Not the first time. Not the second time. Not the third.
It was so long ago now - after all, Sophia is 14½ years old now! - that I didn't want anyone to hear me. I didn't want to have to explain that yes, I am yet again crying over something from the past.
Silly, stupid fucking me.
Except, I'm the only one in this house who feels that way. Why? Because I've let so many elders in my life get inside my head and tell me that that's how I'm supposed to feel. Ashamed of my pain, dumb for not being able to just grin and bear everything. Boy, for being part-English, I did not ever have that stiff upper lip.
So, I stood there and hurt without making a sound. I don't know for how long. Maybe it was 45 seconds, or maybe it was five minutes, but for me it didn't matter because once again, time had stopped. I felt the sobs coming from the core of my being, so deep inside there that the origin isn't even really substance or matter but rather an energy of pain and the most profound disappointment one can imagine. I could feel myself shaking, but it was still early enough in the evening and the rest of Team Odette were still up and about, so I kept it in.
Sometimes, my private pain is just that. Meant only for me to pick up and feel and then be able to put down for a while.
Except, irony is the master mother here, and as I should have expected if it wouldn't have made that oxymoronical, that isn't what happened.
Just as I was trying to gather myself, go back in the office, get my tissues to dry my face and blow my nose, and sit back down to do more research... I don't know. I must have lagged one split-second too long.
Just then, Rob came walking up the stairs at the precise moment Chloë came out of the bathroom right behind me.
I was not in my usual location, I wasn't in a usual position, and I knew the jig was up.
I kept absolutely still - except maybe those silently quaking sobs - while I tried to think real fast to come up with a lie. A quick, harmless story about what I was doing, what might be wrong beside what actually was wrong, and then back out of the situation.
These people, these two, do know me best in the world, after all. One lived in me; the other put her there. Ha! Sorry. Even in sadness, my mind is half in the gutter...
They both asked, "Honey/Mom? What's wrong?" at the same moment, and all hope for an easy exit was out the door the way I wish I was.
I turned around and then the hopeless, helpless blubbering began. I rushed into the office to get my tissues.
I didn't know what to say. I didn't know where to start! It's become quite the cliché to say, "I have all the feels" or whatever, but that's legitimately what I had right then. ALL the feels, none of the words. (Shocking for me, I'm aware.)
Where do I start? When do I start? What do I say?
I sat there and poured my heart out for a good long while, unable to stop the competing flows of words and tears, as Rob and Chloë sat next to me on the floor and empathized with what I was seeing, reliving in my mind as I tried to explain why I was crying.
And maybe tomorrow, or... maybe in my book that I'm starting on November 1st for NaNoWriMo 2019, I'll try to explain it to you, too.
For now, though, the takeaway is: I'm keenly aware that while my heart has been broken into smithereens a thousand times over the span of four-plus decades, and I've experienced sorrows I may never share with another soul, I'm also beyond fortunate to have the love that I do in my life - Rob and the kids, and some other family, and my friends, and my tribe - here to put it back together again a thousand and one times.
Call me lucky, call me blessed, call me whatever you want, but I am, and I know it, and when that pain is eased by their love and caring, it can't possibly compare with the amount of gratitude I feel when it happens - and long after.
Until next time, America.