(i’ll be back with ~rainbow monday~ next week, but have been feeling overdue for a little update. proofreading minimal. you have been warned.)
the fall equinox came and went with little ceremony, other than the lighting of our first woodstove fire for the season. september was rain. it was lying in bed listening to wind howl and rain pelt on the roof. it was walking in a rainstorm together, digging trenches with the heels of our boots to divert water off the driveway, tossing fallen branches off to the side of the road.
september was becoming completely smitten with teaching, including not only science but also math. it was getting another job, this time as an after school program coordinator.
october has gone by in a flash, riding the surge of that new wave. october is a backlog of happy memories i want to record from quinn’s wildly successful school experience.
september also contained a large helping of my coparent insisting it is best for all children to be separate from parents for large portions of their childhood.
i am already away from my son for so much of his childhood that it is like a wound that is never allowed to heal. you do grow accustomed to sharing custody, but it is never going to be what you envisioned parenting to be like. you know, back when you were practicing writing down your children’s first and middle names, accumulating long lists for both boys and girls, in case you had twelve of them. you weren’t picturing any of this.
he was at his dad’s last weekend while we had a birthday party for our little one year old pancake. constant knee-jerk thoughts of getting quinn a plate of the party food, or engaging him in activities with the other kids, would be followed each time by a visceral startle and then that sinking feeling of realization that he is not with me. often i don’t indulge these feelings, because it is more conducive to reaching serenity if i accept the things i cannot change. and yet, my mama heartstrings can only be pulled so many times before i can no longer ignore them. the cycle of grieving never really ends, they say, you just do it over and over again: deny, rage, bargain, accept. a practice, a process, not an end product.
october brought my coparent’s attempts to remove me from my new school district job (unsuccessfully, but still). i have been unable to access the rage i should probably feel in this department.
there was a little boy on the public school playground one afternoon who looked at quinn’s all red-and-orange outfit and called him gay. quinn was, as far as i could tell, oblivious to the intended insult and quite involved in his play. in retrospect, i still feel i should have stepped in and said something to the boy, but it was the one english language word i heard this boy speak and i was just so taken aback. i wonder how i will ever survive motherhood, all the mourning and grieving interspersed with all the celebrating and rejoicing. the roller coaster gets very exhausting and yet i never seem to take naps.
quinn’s vocabulary continues to expand, and not just with colloquialisms. recently he was discussing one of the star wars scenes in the cantina (empire strikes back, i think) and he was telling me something about one “dubious character” who was dressed in human clothing but with monster-like features and head. i had to pause and check in with him, had he really used the word “dubious”? i don’t think i learned dubious until high school.
“mama, i have a question.”
usually he does not preface these things, so when he does, my ears perk up in anticipation.
“okay, i will try to have an answer. what’s your question?”
after a long pause, he said very carefully, “why am i myself?”
coming back up our driveway after some local culture (a visit to the mud bogs event that happens in our “neighborhood”- i did not manage to bring my camera but found one of the attendees in a parking lot in town the next day), quinn wanted me to carry him uphill. this is out of the question now that he weighs 47 pounds, so instead i distracted him with the story of the tortoise and the hare. slow and steady wins the race. slow and steady, we made it home.