Saturday, September 17, 2011

Motherhood Bipolar Disorder

It was first diagnosed here.  But it can be found in most homes wherein small children reside.  Here at Cicada Cottage, we've got a raving case of it.  It is also known as Too Much of a Good Thing.  The "Good Thing" being the small children.  "Too Much" being 24 hours a day, 7 days a week of touching, asking, whining, feeding, dressing, peeing, quarreling, fitful children.  These children are also brilliant, strong, beautiful, inspiring, humbling.

Are you catching the bipolar part of this?

I can hardly stand them breathing on me AND I want nothing more than to be right next to them.  Do you see?  Do you see?

How does a woman cope?  I ask.

Our financial situation right now requires Dr. Gooch to spend many more hours in the hospital than at home.  Please don't make me go into details.

This prolonged spouselessness only serves to exacerbate the condition.  I'm looking ahead at the calendar and there are so many things sketched into those short days that require me to drag those runty rascals solo around the world.  A baptism to attend, church, soccer, piano, preschool potluck, Why does this feel like Kilamanjaro to me?

With mountain climbing on my mind, I took a shower, hoping to scrub away my sour attitude.  I cut my ankle shaving.  It bled so much for such a small cut.  I channeled all my angst into that silly slice that was clearly overreacting.  It barely smarted and now I have a blood stain on the bath rug that I had just washed.  I dressed and served a lunch of oatmeal and bananas then I sat down with Lucy at the bottom of the stairwell and propped her right leg on my lap.  I began rubbing vitamin E oil on her scars.

They were still so pink and raw but beautiful, too.

"That feels good," she sighed and dropped her head back on her shoulder watching me finish the task.

In that small sigh I found a cure.  The uneven skin and muscle, the too tight tendon, and her strong left thigh and calf and the very presence of a right leg filled up my emptiness.  I looked at her relaxed face and, as I finished, she rolled her pant leg down and hopped away to join the others in the next room.  I followed her quietly and looked at Seth with his skiwompous sleep hair hurling cushions into fort formations, and Hazel's voice heard above all other possible sounds, and big Avery occasionally swatting at the still baby hair hanging down over her soft eyes then looking up at me sideways like a curious hen.

I flop onto the couch with my own, much larger sigh.  Enjoying the healing power of perspective and the temporary fix of an ongoing ail.

The lessons?  Don't bleed out so much when, in the universe of things, it was merely a nick.

And...let the culprit be your cure.


sara said...


Kurt Knudsen said...

you are wise

betsy said...

This was the perfect thing for where I am right now.... This may be brendan's worst year of training yet. And I feel bipolar in mothering these four small, wonderful, challenging children of ourselves by myself most of the time.

liz canaan roberts said...

have i got a case of this lately. just last night i was trying to explain to my husband (as he was trying to console this sobbing wreck, dear man) that touch wasn't consoling just then as too much of it was one of the contributors to my weary tears. i was also trying to explain to him that crying was a much needed balm to my exhausted body and emotions. do men ever get this?

kelly said...

i know.

Jen said...

digging this post. i, too, am left to tend to our four while my husband tends to the demands of his job. it's exhausting, but through my daze, and M-A-N-Y frustrations, i find such joy.

...the hardest part is making sure my four boys know that.

The Original Mangums said...

Hang in there Jordan! It came to pass, not to stay. Know that we who have children can all appreciate the bipolar state. We've been there at least once or twice ourselves. Happy days will soon be here again!

S. Schuller said...

Again, as before, I am finding comfort and insight by reading your words. You are an amazing woman. Thank-you for writing what others (like me) can't always put our fingers on and can't even express it so poetically when we do!

Becky said...

I hear ya, lady! Today was a particularly hard day (I went to bed too late last night...) so I'm feeling it today. My hubby works out of town half the week and it can be very lonely and hard by myself.

Ann said...

You ARE wise. Love you.

Amy Lynne said...

Well said mama!

katie said...

so wise. so true. perfect said. thank you.

Annee said...

Does it make you feel any better that I love your table?!

I really do.

Your take on motherhood is spot on. Motherhood always makes me think of the scripture that says there must be an opposition in all things. I always wonder why that must be with the good things too. Agency is so tricky sometimes.

All the best.

SaraB said...

Please write a book with pages filled with things just like this. That would be my nightly Motherhood Bipolar disorder cure.


Martha said...

you nailed it. i keep sending this post to everyone. it's perfect. and that last line - the culprit is the cure! hello! like i said, nailed it!