Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Swimming Too Far Out

I’ve had this itch to write a blog, but how is that any different from the daily minutiae in the updates on Facebook? Why do any of us need that attention from friends of friends, minor crushes, past and future flings, band members, irritating colleagues we didn’t want stopping by our desks let alone reading that we are making lasagna tonight for our babysitter’s birthday before she heads back home to Grenada next week where it is always warm with white sand and clear blue water. 

One good thing I want to report is that I’ve finally realized I’m allowed to drink water even when other people are in the room. And I don’t necessarily have to put Alex’s bandmate’s girlfriend’s last-minute move from Crown Heights to Leffarts Gardens above something that I was planning to do. I’m so grateful for the people who stopped me and shook me by the shoulders and said “What does that teach Wally?” (my nearly-two year old son). 

What does rushing around feeling scattered and out of breath and beholden to everyone and everything and incapable of having one straight thought without a thousand more should haves or would haves or what ifs dashing around the corner behind them…what does that say? What kind of lesson is it to first make coffee for someone who stopped by without warning before I take his temperature when he's bright red and crying and covered in sweat? (Turns out it was only 104--the nurse laughed at me for calling about it.) I don’t even think it comes from altruism or wanting to be nice to others (that’s part of it, but the smaller part). I think it’s just general insecurity. Saying sorry when someone bumps into you. Thinking it's not okay to ever meet your own needs first, and extending that to your offspring. "He's not that thirsty. He can wait. What else can I get you?" Feeling mortified when the lifeguard blows the whistle because you swam too far out. Thinking everyone on earth is watching and pointing: “She swam too far out. What an asshole. Didn’t she see the buoys? No, she can’t see them because she wears glasses. F*cking moron.” Who thinks like that? I did, for a long time. Fearing friends would be critical that I was no longer as devoted a friend because I had a baby, that I'd "changed," that I put Wally above others. Until, like I said above, certain friends let me know that of course my life was supposed to change and it'd be weird if it didn't and of course Wally comes first. That it wasn't selfish or impolite or rude to put him first. Just like it isn't rude to drink a glass of water, even if it means hesitating for a minute before answering someone's question. 

As a side note, swimming too far out would be a great lesson to teach Wally, I think. As long as he knows how to find his way back to dry land.