The other day my mother asked me how I was, and the question sounded so foreign that I had to ask her what she had said.
“How are you, sweetheart?”
I thought for a moment and answered that I was fine.
“Yeah?” she asked, looking over the steering wheel.
Lately the only thing that’s mattered to everyone else is how Aspen is. Whether she’s crawling or trying to walk, whether she likes to eat purees or whole cooked food and whether or not she’s choked or gotten a cold or learned how to wave hello and bye. Sometimes I forget that I’m here, too. Sometimes I just feel like the shadow that carries around the baby and roasts vegetables and keeps the house looking tidy.
How am I? I am a stranger in my skin. I am lonely, even though I’m surrounded by loved ones. I am anxious, even though I have nowhere to be. I want to be touched, but I also want to be left alone. I want everything to change. I want nothing at all.
Today KC held onto me too tightly and my breasts leaked milk through my shirt. I groaned and pushed him away and he said, “I feel like I’m doing everything wrong.”
And I wanted to tell him that he was, that I just needed him to be gentle, that I was hurting, that my heart was sore. I wanted him to know that I was broken in two and overflowing. That I felt there wasn’t enough love left in my heart to give to him. That I didn’t ask for help with the baby because I felt that she was my burden to bear. That I should be able to hold her and cook dinner for three and finish my studies and write great novels, all at once, because I was the one who "wanted her."
But I didn't.
I told him that everything was fine.