Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I Dreamed a Dream

I'm not posting this on Facebook because I want to make sure that only my regular readers see it, not just random passer-bys. If you're looking for optimism on motherhood, you should go here today.

I laid my little one down in his crib to let him "cry it out" today for only the second time since he's been born. I know, it's terrible and I should have done it sooner.

I went to take a shower while he "took a nap." I closed the door and took my time for the first time in a while. While I was drying my hair, I sang, as per usual. I don't know how many people who read this are musical theater connoisseurs, but I happened to pick a song called "Climbing Uphill" from "The Last Five Years." I picked it because it's a fun song to sing that every musical theater person can relate to, beginning with a phone call to her dad detailing her audition process, leading into a dramatic rendition of what's really going on in an actor's head while they audition, and then rounding out with a declaration of what this girl plans on doing with her life. Or rather, what she plans on not doing.

I will not be the girl, stuck at home in the 'burbs
with the baby, the dog, and the garden of herbs.
I will not be the girl with the sensible shoes
pushing burgers and beer nuts and missing the clues.
I will not be the girl who gets asked how it feels 
to be trodding along at the genius' heels.
I will not be the girl who requires a man to get by.

All of a sudden, I'm singing this song (knowing that I used to sing it with all the confidence in the world) and I realize...

I am this girl.

Sans the dog, of course.

Actually, I'm not sure that where I live really qualifies as the 'burbs either.

And I can't grow a garden to save my life. Too bad gardens are actually in vogue now.

I don't want anyone to get me wrong. I love my baby and my husband more than anything in the world. Seriously. More than anything. But I can't help but feel a little... let down by what I've let my life come to.

I had some serious goals that I wanted to accomplish before having children. Most of them can still be accomplished, but, wow, do I have some fancy footwork to do to see them through. I feel bad that I have been leading everyone to believe that I want to be a stay at home mom. That's not really true. I really want to be out of my dead end job that has nothing to do with anything that I love. I love love love my child and staying at home with him would just be preferable to working at Family Video, that's all. I think that he would be just fine going to day care for a while each day. I will miss him, but it sure beats being stir crazy in this house.

So we've accomplished that I'm the girl stuck at home in the "'burbs" and that I have the baby and the crappy job.

And if you know anything at all about my husband you know that he really is a genius. He's a fantastic musician and a fantastic teacher. And everyone who has ever met him tells me I'm a lucky girl. I totally am.

But I think I could be up there too.

We have accomplished that I make a salary that would land me at the poverty level if something ever happened to Jordan. Thereby proving that I do, in fact, require a man to get by. Actually, I'm pretty sure all my money is just going to pay my debt off.

And then I ended the song and turned off the hairdryer. As if to punctuate my feelings, I hear my baby crying. An hour after I laid him down. When I walked in to the room, he had cried so much that the poor little guy had thrown up twice. More laundry that I won't get done.

I just remember a time when I was making art... not just making babies. Right now, in this 'burb, a baby is all I'm known for making.

I have always believed that you make your own destiny. When I was in grade school I wanted to be famous, and someone (I genuinely can't remember who) told me that people from Iuka, IL had a hard time becoming famous. I needed to have lived in a city for that. And I remember thinking the grade school equivalent of, "Screw that. When I'm done, there's going to be a statue of me in this town."

You make your own destiny.

The problem is, I'm not quite sure how to make my destiny. I'm not even sure who I am anymore. I look at my basement and the coffee table is littered with baby book stuff. I don't even like scrapbooking. I like to throw everything in a box and pull it out years later and say, "I should make a scrapbook out of this." I don't like to clean, but most of my house is pretty spotless right now. I hate cooking, but I'm going to start. I am 25 pounds overweight and am having a really hard time shaking it off and feeling beautiful like I used to.

I tried to reinvent myself as a mother instead of a career girl, a city girl, an actress, or an artist. It didn't work. I AM a mother, but that is not the sum of my parts. I did not feel "complete" when they placed that baby in my arms. I felt happy. I felt overwhelming love. But I did not feel complete. I think completing you may be an unfair burden to lay on a being that is literally learning how to breathe.

I will learn again someday how to create my destiny. Right now it's all I can do to take a shower and make sure this baby is fed and has his diaper changed. I'm exhausted and very nearly out of ideas.

And that's just where I am right now.

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