The Swings

He came home from work a half an hour earlier than expected. The baby was momentarily content. The mommy, not so much. He changed his clothes, and I walked out the door.

I left the iPod, I left my hat, my gloves, the usual comforts of a January walk. This was not for dramatic effect, merely the urgent need to just escape. At least I remembered my shoes and my new red coat.

The sun was still setting. I walked quickly. My cheeks were turning pink from the chilly wind. I might have had a few tears in my eyes, spilling out and nearly freezing on my face, but if this was a real exercise in creative writing, I wouldn’t mention that part. Because crying is just so cliche. Especially for no reason.

I went to the swings. And I pumped my legs and closed my eyes and listened to my breathing. In and out. Back and forth. There were a few kids playing basketball on the adjacent court and I couldn’t help looking at myself from some outside perspective. A grown woman in a red coat flying on the swings. What possesses someone to swing outside in January. In a nice wool coat with no kids around, no friends smoking cigars?

And the answer is motherhood. A certain mood, a combination of completely mundane frustrations. The need to just be. To just feel the effects of air and gravity. To hold tight to the chains until the fingers are numb and then pause and flex, then start again.

It’s almost a form of prayer, my visits to the swings. A few minutes to myself, to clear my head, to exorcise the yuck of the day weighing me down. I finished swinging with solutions in mind. Another list.

I purposely did not write yesterday in that mood, or even after my walk. I needed to sleep it out of my system. But I still needed to write it. I need to say how some days I just don’t feel like I know my baby at all, and yet, he’s so demanding, so needy, I have to be everything to him regardless of my own frame of mind. I need to make my lists and focus on hope, on the things that I should do for myself. To keep me in perspective. So it’s nice when James comes home after a tough day like yesterday and lets me go. He asks what he can do to help. He’s learned enough not to try to offer solutions because even if he thinks he knows what’s eating me, sometimes I just have to get there on my own time. And I do. I did.

I need to be more social. I need to reconnect with people and meet new ones. I need to separate work and family, especially with working at home, even though I haven’t worked much. Which means cleaning and organizing our office and maybe, gasp! keeping it that way. But sometimes, it’s just too much. And the list is too long or there’s no list at all, just this sense of pressure and dread. Which leads to the walking. The swinging. The slow unpacking of thoughts and then doing something about them. So that was yesterday, and this should be a happy post because there is hope. There are better things ahead. There has to be.

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