so despite my Biblical level of whining and all the righteous lamentations (your contributions and commiserations greatly appreciated)…yesterday turned out not really so terrible.

apparently if we let the little crying creature peep it out a bit during this weekend nap transition, he will manage to put himself back down for another forty-five minute sleep cycle. which weird though it is to be back to those punctuated naps of infancy, is still another forty-five minutes for his mother to rest her lazy carcass on the couch and eat bonbons.  or actually work, since my bonbon supply was really and truly worn down to the peanuts this weekend, alas.  but still, there was couch-sitting to be had.

so, huh.  my child does not have the sense of humour of a cranky jackal, after all.

the time change didn’t go too terribly badly, either. O slept until 5:30 am new time this morning, which would have been 6:30 am old time and really quite impressively late for him (sigh). and hell, it was his father’s morning to get up with him anyway. :)

hurricane Noel seems to have passed through our region without major mayhem…except for the swaths of Nova Scotia who expect to be without power ’til Tuesday, of course.  but moi?  fully lighted, safe and warm, thank you very much.

and i found a new detergent that may keep my Fuzzi Bunz absorbent and effective in future.  will keep you posted.

ultimate conclusion?  apparently i’m actually NOT being punished by the universe.

this is always slightly embarrassing to realize.  i puff up in indignance, recognizing the inflatedness of my complaints, the reality of my good fortune.  why am i NOT being punished by the universe, anyway?  i had a FINE litany of grievances!  i’m worthy of being singled out for the trials of Job (new, lite version)…i have it rough, really i do.  see these bags under my eyes?  just you DARE tell me i’m lucky!

but i am.

i feel ashamed of myself, you see, with these posts of vitriol and complaint that leak out of me now and then. oh, my child wakes up too early! oh, my offspring gets sick and spoils all my vacation plans! oh, there might be chickenpox/measles/bubonic plague at daycare!  oh, this porridge is too hot!  and i wonder if you mutter to yourselves, suck it up, Buttercup. i wonder, with more concern, if you think i’m a shallow, whiny, twit…and if i’m acting like one.  because my laments are petty, i know that. i know that no matter how much i may feel i’ve woken up on the unjust side of the bed, millions would give their teeth to have it as bad as me, with my pile of nibbled, rejected chocolate-covered peanuts.

and yet every now and then i’m reminded that it’s actually a good sign – relatively – that i can get all caught up again in the tragedia minutiae of my life.  because it means, overall, that i’m mostly managing to feel not very persecuted at all.

for a long time, i did.  for months really, after Finn died, when i was lost on the sea of looking for work when i should have been home with my baby, of fighting a bill for an medical airlift i’d been assured would be covered, of having to go into the stores we’d ordered paint and flooring from for our new house, our first house, and wince my way through the “congratulations! the baby must be here!” conversations and then the shocked silence and that feeling like i must have left my skin at home, of walking past pregnant women whose big, round bellies were sharp as tacks…all those months, i felt quite persecuted.  the burden of grief weighed more than i knew how to carry, especially socially.  i did not know anyone else to whom anything like this had ever happened – my friends were either childless or in the midst of a joyous, uncomplicated baby boom.  and any time i tried to talk my way through it, to begin to unload even a little of the bafflement and rawness i felt, the wounds became doubly sharp.  because people told me about angels.  told me life doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  told me it was probably for the best, and he might have been seriously handicapped. told me all sorts of crap that i assumed was meant to make them feel better, ’cause it seriously did fuck-all for me.  except make me feel like most of them just wished the conversation would go away, because it was so damn painful, and awkward.  we’d hit the wall of platitudes before i’d said  much of anything, at all.  so i said as little as possible.

but alone, or with Dave, late at night, smoking furiously in our shed, trying desperately to act on my appetite for destruction and fury whilst causing as little actual harm as i could get away with, i wailed.  i lamented our persecution.  and i wished it were them, those sunny people with their cliches who seemingly never had to adjust their expectations for anything.  i didn’t really want it to be anyone, in truth, not really, not much…i just wanted it not to be me.  i wanted not to be living a constant, months-long moment of “let this cup pass from me.”  i wanted it not to be real.

what i didn’t realize was that i was as impossible as they were, then.  and that even those brave few who had the courage to ask about Finn and really try to listen, who waded through our self-censored narratives and pushed for more, really couldn’t have done anything right.  because there was nothing anyone could have said that would have helped me outrun that pain, that grief.  it was mine, for no reason except that it landed on me by an accident of Finn’s birth.  it was no great judgement on me, either of fault or strength.  but nearly every single thing another person said about it, beyond the simple comfort of “i’m so sorry,” felt like a rebuke.

i remembered all this when i happened upon a post by Whymommy, today.  Whymommy has cancer, inflammatory breast cancer (which you do not need a lump to have!), and she’s 34 years old and she’s smart and generous and bald at the moment and thus wearing her own personal pain and struggle out there for all to read, as it were.  and as with all particularly terrible things that people don’t like to imagine can happen to them, there’s a shock and awkwardness that permeates some of her conversations these days.  well-intentioned people are taken aback and sympathetic, and their disbelief that something so grave really can happen to someone so vital comes out in innocent phrases like “but, you’re so young and healthy!”  and thus, Whymommy has to socially negotiate other people’s struggles with the unfairness of her situation, with the universe and her failure to fit their comfortable assumptions about her place in it, at this moment.  and that feels like a rebuke, to her, sometimes.  keeping it together in the face of your own assumptions of safety and “it won’t happen to me” disintegrating is hard.  keeping it together when people’s innocuous words jar you with the reminder that it is happening to you?  some days, not possible.  some days, Sartre was right…hell really is other people.

so my mundane complaints, and my pose of stricken woe?  in a way, for me, it’s a merciful, blissful performance of my own happy normality, undeserved but damn welcome.  and appreciated.  a day when the quality of your candy is what you’ve got to complain about is a day you’re safe and warm and fed and unbroken, and a day when you’ll be sure to find company to share your trials and bolster you up with camraderie and humour.  and being able to trust that the company will help?  that in itself is a great gift.

i am grateful.  to all of you.  and to the universe, for benevolences bestowed.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ in more gratitude, our little trees in the backyard are still standing, post-hurricane. stripped nearly bare now of the last leaves that were clinging to them, they were the only things i really worried about…we planted them for Finn, that first Mother’s Day after his birth and death.  one of the three, in particular, is small and sickly, and i watch it helplessly, afraid it too will die and i will have failed it, somehow.  but i watched it, in the wind, buffeting and bending, this little clump birch…and for the first time, it seemed strong enough.

and speaking of strength, belated but heartfelt thanks to both Flutter and Whymommy for the Perfect Post for the leaves and the song.  in typing both your names just now, i was struck by…well, by who you are. if there were such as thing as the Pain Olympics, you two, in your past and present struggles, have gold-medal narratives…and the blog personas that represent our individual seasons of sorrow could all go limping down the track together, one big pile of things that shouldn’t have to happen to anyone. and yet this post that you both felt spoke to you is a love song, just a regular old love song – it addressed nothing of any of our personal obvious crosses to bear. which makes me smile, and reminds me that we are all more than the worst things that happen to us.  so thanks, on both counts.  please do come on over for Bridge Mix and petty whinging anytime you need some.