I used to blog with abandon, somewhere back in the olden days of the internet, circa 2006. I wrote about busboys and wrong boys and celebrities while trying to find the joy in writing again, post-graduate school and my sister’s brush with breast cancer at 28. I wrote and wrote about her cancer for years, and then I didn’t, because the story I told on the page, of two sisters so close that the healthy one put her life on hold to take care of the sick one, which cemented a bond that couldn’t be undone, but then it was all undone, and suddenly, the glue I understood as my family no longer existed. And so I stopped again and started again, writing about all my mid-30s angst and my never ending search for the right person. I entertained my restaurant co-workers mainly with my musings, and for a time, became determined to write a book called, “It’s Still Happy Hour, Isn’t It?” which would detail said musings in a poignant and frank way while managing to make fun of nearly every customer I had ever waited on. It was going to be glorious, and in the meantime, I would also continue to write about things like Britney Spears’ multiple breakdowns and head shavings and all would be right with the world.
But then my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor and my sister completely lost her mind, and everything came apart again, and I had to start all over, with my life, with my writing, with who I thought I was and who I thought I might become. So I wrote about losing my mom, the love of my life at the time, and then I wrote about miraculously meeting the second love of my life, whose father had died of the same brain cancer my mom had been diagnosed with, a glioblastoma, the kind no one survives. I wrote essays and fiction and some of it was funny, but much of it wasn’t, and then my mom died and I had a baby, and who I was before he came into the world vanished almost immediately upon his arrival and so, I started again. I tried to write about the confusion of motherhood mixed with grief and of trying to raise a child without the advice of my own mother, who, legend has it, never yelled at her children.
One day, when I was wrestling my three-year-old back into his carseat, and yelling at the top of my lungs, which is rare, but it happens, and I thought, “There is no way my mother never yelled; that cannot possibly be true.” But then I searched my memory again, and no, I do not remember her yelling once, even when I was at my worst as a teenager screaming at her that I couldn’t wait to turn 18 and get out of the house. She was a better person than me, of that I am sure.
Given that my life is fairly even keeled at the moment, I’m not sure what I will write here exactly. No one I love is sick or dying right this second, thank god, and my life now is more about trying to stay in the moment than surviving all the ones in recent years that I simply didn’t think I would.
So. I start again with these new moments, these quieter, less dramatic ones. Like today, where my little man called out for me from his room, his cheeks red with sleep and said, “Lie down here, Mama. Don’t go to work, lie down.” Each time I tried to get up and leave him, he pushed my arm back down over his chest and I felt the flutter of his heart against my palm, and I stayed.