Monday, December 8, 2014

Seems Like Without Tenderness

I was sad today and it didn't even start out being about Blue. But then I ended up being sad about him and everything too.

If I were taking the standard 10-week maternity leave from work I would have gone back today. And I just do not want to go back to this job. Even if I liked my job, I would not be ready yet. Sleep is still too fragmented and I have to drag myself from bed every morning unless Mr. E lets me sleep in until 9 or 9:30 or even later. I have not been pumping to build up a store of milk. Not that that absolutely needs to be done or that I wouldn't have done that over the past week or two knowing I would be going back to work today. But I really don't like this job. I don't have enough responsibility, I don't have enough interesting work, I don't make enough money. After more than two years you would think at least one of these areas would no longer be deficient. I don't even want to be a lawyer. I'm not sure that I ever did but it sounded like a good option a number of years ago and really it's not all bad. But I can't stop fantasizing about what else I would rather be doing with my life.

And I guess that's how I started being sad about Blue because I was thinking about what I might have done differently with my life if he had been born healthy. There is no question that my life would have been completely different, but it is the imagined permutations of that different life that I find difficult to avoid. The questions about that life appear randomly in my thoughts. Would Chris and I have become the guardians of his friend's little boy? What would have happened if we didn't stay together? When I left him, why did I never hear from her? I guess she was always his friend and not mine, but I had thought she was my friend too. When would I have gone back to work, i.e. gotten a job, after Blue was born? What would his name have been? Would we have hosted Chris' family for Thanksgiving when Blue was just a week or a few weeks old? Would we have moved out of Chris' 800-square-foot condo into a house with a garage and a yard? Would we have lasted that long as a couple? Where would I live now? Had I stayed with him, would I be miserable or would I have had an affair?

It was a beautiful cold day yesterday and I went for a run in the nearby park that stretches along the banks of a small river. I stopped on a bridge and stared at the water, feeling an old familiar unsettled-ness about my life. It wasn't the same urgent purposelessness, if there is such a thing, that I felt in my early 30s once I realized how much I wanted to have a baby. To meet a man with whom to have a baby. I was having a really great time in my life, if I think about it, but I felt an intense lack of purpose and direction. Now that I have a family, it doesn't hurt so bad that I don't have the kind of job or career or work life that I want. But thinking about having to go back to work today made that feeling more acute. That feeling that I want to do something really great but I have no idea what that is and how I will get there. Usually I think it's something creative, or something entrepreneurial, but sometimes I think I would rather do nothing at all. Not that I would do nothing, but that what I did was not so much about a career and making money but about how I touched people's lives or left something better than I found it. I suppose I should admit that sometimes I think that "doing nothing" could also look like moving back to a ski town and working in a restaurant and chasing powder days.

It doesn't surprise me at all that I have a family, a house, a career if I want it, and still I feel like there's something missing. That something missing that I'm talking about, it's not Blue, but anytime I think of something missing I am missing him too.