Today I took Della to the playground. I generally don't. We go to the farm, where we interact with each other and the animals and the tractors, but not really other families, other parents, other moms.
Today, we went to the farm, and the day was just so glorious, 70 degrees, warm breeze, nearly intoxicating...I could not imagine going inside. So, on the way home, we stopped at the playground.
I do this thing-- I feel like I am the new kid at school, spend time looking at my shoes, or just at Della, in some self-protective-feeling tunnel vision. Wider awareness comes with something like monstrous trepidation, like I am a big fat faker. Like I am the only one making it up moment by moment, an interloper, a charletan.... something negative and out of place and yet
I am there with my amazing daughter.
And people smile at her and at me.
And people say hello, and so do I.
My internal scars and scarlet letters do not show on the outside.
I said hello to a woman looking my age with a 2 year old, and a 3 month old.
To a woman much younger with four kids, all under 5, the youngest 6 months.
But I am guilty of so many things:
a temptation to assume genetic connection,
a temptation to assume easy fertility,
to assume ease...
Today I tried my best to just be me. Not totally self conscious interloperKate. Just Kate. With Della.
But I still heard some sort of apology in my voice when I noted Della's diaper needed changing, and the bag was in the car,
I heard some sort of awe when I said "wow, four kids, that's really something"
I felt some sort of "less than" in the way I held my body
But all in all it was a glorious day,
we came home with sand in our pockets and dirt on our knees
we ate popsicles and talked about our big big day
and the evening wrapped up with me, in a tangle of rookie mistakes, tripping myself up with dinner and dishes and daycare lunch preparation when really, I should have just gotten down on the floor with Della, but instead found myself creating a perfect storm of dropped rice and a too-small casserole dish and sticky stuff dumped under the burner, while Della put on her own boots, stomped through the kitchen kicking clods off the treads, and was ratcheting up Mommamommamomma, increasingly calling for my attention and me, saying one more minute one more minute one more minute with a lump forming fast in my throat
and Della ended up lying on the floor crying
when all I really wanted to do at that moment was exactly the same thing
and it got alright once the casserole was in the oven
and I gave up everything else
so, tonight I am rewinding the day, reveling in the great day that it was
because if me
in spite of me
along with me
which is really what this is all about I think
stuff burning on the stove
and rice on the floor.