So Mo’s second-day enthusiasm for school was short-lived, and he’s cried almost every day since at drop-off time. His teachers tell me he settles down quickly, and he’s always happy at the end of the day, but still – peeling a sad and clinging child from your waist and leaving to the sound of his wails is one of the least fun ways to start each day, and it’s uncovered deeply-buried memories of me at his age and even older, clutching and crying and desperately wanting for my mother not to leave, or at least for me to be allowed to leave with her. I worry that these are signs that Moses is on track to become just like me: anxious, pessimistic, depressed. Defective. And by “worry” I mean I panic – it’s a terrified, grief-filled, gut-wrenching panic – that this is not the new I wanted it to be, and we’re instead spiraling down well-worn paths of pain and powerlessness, and there will be no healing here for Moses or for me.
I bought lunch boxes and a backpack for Mo! We spent the holidays talking about how different his weeks would look once school started! We watched Maurice heading off for his first day on ABC2! I was unprepared for how school would affect me, though. There was no TV program warning me about the weeks of intense self-psychoanalysis and heart-heaviness to come.
I’m reading H is For Hawk by Helen Macdonald, and it fits my mood perfectly; I’m loving it. I get it, and I hurt along with the author despite the fact that no one I know has recently died, and despite the foreignness of hawk-training to me. The way she writes about Mabel makes me think of motherhood; perhaps that’s my connection. And I’ve started running. I made a friend come to a Body Pump class with me, and she’s paying me back by encouraging me to run (sending me links to websites about local fun runs and mentioning half-marathons and jogging comfortably on the treadmill next to mine, making it look easy). Tonight I ran for longer than I’ve run for years, possibly ever. I’m enjoying the challenge, even in my fragile state. I speak to myself in the same way I talk to my children: “Look at you, my darling, you just ran for two blocks of 15 minutes! I knew you could do it! WELL DONE!”