A blur of nights and days slides gently into one another, differentiated by small milestones, markers alongside a long road that we are just setting out on – feet fresh, hearts light.
I can tell if my clothes are clean by smelling the left shoulder, perpetually soaked with spit-up where Olive’s face rests as I hold her close to my chest.
I rock wherever I stand, back and forth, back and forth. The part of my brain that used to think critically, that used to write about the meaning of modern marriages trends, implications of social movements, and even long drawn-out posts about writing itself , is now consumed entirely with the physical state of another person. Is she hungry? When did she last nap? Is she warm enough? Dry enough? Loved enough?
Adam and I are both closer, and further apart. Seeing him as a father has been indescribable, and Olive doesn’t laugh for anyone the way she laughs for her Papa. I’ve gotten to know an entirely different man than the one I met at 18, and I love this man with all of my heart.
But then of course, there’s also the diapers and the sleep loss and the millions of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis, and for two people who approach situations in wildly different manners, it can be a challenge to come to a consensus on, well, anything.
We’re in a strange place right now, with me on maternity leave and Adam still looking for work. Adam’s parents are retired and we joke that we are too. But alongside these slow days hangs the sly, guilty feeling that we should be doing something, andthat makes them difficult to enjoy.
For me that something usually has a name, like writing. Or laundry. Or reading to Olive. With Adam I think it’s a wider question mark, broader and more blurry. He’s trying to figure out just what that something is and how to find it, and, in the absence of this answer lies the heavy weight of inertia.
It’s difficult for a man, I think, to not have a purpose. And it’s difficult sometimes for me to stand by and stop from taking over or trying to help, which from Adam’s standpoint sometimes looks like nagging, or worse, controlling. I’m not good at being in limbo, at waiting and waiting and waiting. And right now so many aspects of our life are undecided that I am white-knuckling the rest. Trying to grasp some things so tight that I feel like I have some control over something, anything.
There are some things in the works, some things that we are crossing our fingers on and waiting on and in the meantime we wake and sleep, and eat and take walks in the sun with our baby. I go to my mom groups and hang out with friends. And last night we bought a cappuccino cheesecake and I swear Adam and I ate more than half of it between the two of us.
It’s a pretty sweet kind of limbo, but I am looking forward to feeling solid ground under our feet nonetheless.