Friday, March 5, 2010

Nothing, for now

This is hard for me, the nothing doing. The newborn days center around his needs, and so many of his needs are just: hold me. Hold me some more. Don't put me down. And wipe my spit-up and eye goo, thanks.

I love the holding. He's delicious and warm and comfortable and so soft and bendy. He's like one of those buckwheat pillows, or memory foam. I love how babies mold right to your shape. He'll fold up over my shoulder or fill the crook of my arm or arc across my thighs, anywhere where he can feel some heartbeat and some mama warmth. So I hold him. I hold him because it's what he wants and I hold him because it's what I want and I hold him to remember this smallness before he's hitting baseballs from the backyard through the kitchen window or asking for the car keys, again, and my body folds right over his smallness and we co-exist, two separated forms that were once one shape.

But my mind, my mind is not used to the nothingness. My mind jumps. I wanted to carry that book upstairs or I could be getting that laundry folded or I wanted to write this, read that, call her, tell someone this. Tell anyone this. G listens but he only answers in little grunts. They're cute little grunts, of course, but they're not so useful for feedback.

I'm going back to work in a few months, and then I'll probably work forever, except for a vacation week here or there, until long after they're all out of college. I've had this opportunity twice before to sit, and this is my last time of nothing.  In my regular life mode, I'm so goal-oriented and task-oriented and I can't quiet those impulses now, even though they have no translation. So I have the instinct to spend this nothing time the best I can.

I want to excel at the art of nothing.

Those words don't even belong together, but I can't quiet the impulse.

So I hold him and I snuggle him and I kiss him and I wipe him and don't misunderstand, I'm happy doing these things for him. These aren't words of sadness or depression, just words of feeling like a wanderer on someone else's planet. I look around and muse. I adopt the customs of the locals. It's the trip of a lifetime. I know I won't be back here. So I drink it in, the nothing. I want to miss nothing of the nothing. I want to immerse in this nothing, our nothing.

But he grows and I know how soon he'll be big enough to join his sisters in daycare, how soon I'll be returning to work. I'll do this nothing the best I can, for him and for me. But I can feel how this is a vacation destination, a tasting. And my brain, don't judge me for this, my brain is relieved about that. My brain prefers the busyness and demands of many, many somethings.

And I know I'll be back there soon enough.  Right now, though, the boy is beginning to stir. I have some very important nothing ahead of me. I'm going to watch his waking-up stretches. Pin It