Saturday, April 13, 2013
In the Fifteenth Year of Motherhood
I had just driven my eleven-year-old to and from his piano lesson, and now it was 5:45pm, and I was cresting the hill beyond which sat my house. Hoping, needing, despairing, I held my breath as I pushed the remote garage door opener. "Daddy's not home yet," observed my son, without understanding that his father's car was exactly the object on which I'd lined up all my ducks in one neat row, the presence of that car signifying that someone else (please, God, anyone else?) might be handling the care and feeding of all the living creatures within. I pulled into the garage (far more slowly than necessary) and turned off the Subaru's ignition. My son, clutching an unruly pile of sheet music and lesson books, leaped out of the car. "Aren't you coming?," he called. I shook my head no. "Not feeling well?," he yelled. I shook my head yes, and waved him on into the house, whereupon a piano book and some papers tumbled out of his grasp and onto the garage's filthy subfloor. He shrugged, unconcerned, picked them up, and bounded inside. I rested my head on the steering column. I could hear the cat even through the door that had just swallowed up my kid. The cat was whining indignantly for his dinner. The kids, too, would need dinner. Chores upon chores lay in wait for me on the other side of that door. And I couldn't move. Idly I wondered if I were having a nervous breakdown. I dismissed the thought after deciding that people suffering nervous breakdowns would likely lack the wherewithal to attempt to label their states of being. I stayed slumped in the car for perhaps twenty minutes. The cat's cries grew ever more frantic while I sat, rooted by misery, rebelling against drudgery and its damnable way of cropping up over and over again like dandelions in spring. Finally I sighed, collected my belongings, got out of the car, shook myself as would a dog freeing its coat of accumulated raindrops, picked up a stray sheet of music, and went inside to feed the hysterical cat and my two blithely affable boys.