Thursday, January 24, 2013: The Ring of Fire

Dear Babies,

“This should be a show.”

“It’s not funny, Denby.”

“No, it’s not funny, it’s ridiculous.”

“But you see it’s not me!!!”

“Actually, it is you–”

This exchange between your father and me took place on the couch last night at 8:00 p.m. You guys had just completed a thirty-minute cry-out session in your bedroom (only thirty minutes! it’s getting better!) and had finally surrendered and succumbed to sleep.  (On the floor like two drunken frat boys, in front of the door, but hey, eyes were closed and nobody was crying, we’ll take it.)

“One day they’ll realize wait a waste of time this is, screaming their heads off because they don’t want to fall asleep,” your father began taking a seat on the milk-stain-splattered couch with me slumping down next to him, exhausted and un-showered.

I agreed and drew the new baby monitor from my hand. “Check this out,” I said, presenting the small metallic object in my palm, “I can’t turn it on.”

He took the monitor and pressed his thumb down on the central power button, clearly marked by a circle with a line through it, that international “power” sign we’ve all come to recognize somewhere along the way. Lights started blinking. The crackling sound of a camera recording silence filled the room. I blinked at the ease at which this was done.

“Come on.”

“What?” he said.

“How’d you do that? I’ve been trying to turn it all on day. I can’t do it.” I snatched the monitor from his hands, a caveman saying mine.

“Just hold the button for five seconds,” he said reaching over, pressing his thumb down on the button once again to turn the object off.

“I did,” I protested “I tried for five seconds. Four seconds. Three, two, one,” I pressed my thumb down trying to turn it out, nothing. “Look, I can’t.”

And so we sat like this going back and forth for a little, he mocking me easily pressing the power button on and off, me, trying various ways to do so, which was what he deemed “show-worthy.” You would think what I was attempting. I was so serious. So frustrated. I was doing thumb-exercises in between, as if gearing up for the meanest, Middle Ages version of a Thumb War (wasn’t everything just meaner back then?). How many different ways can one press a button? I tried going hard. Soft. I tried approaching the large grey button from different angles; now from the side, from the bottom. “This time I’m comin’ in from the top, Denby.{PREEEESS. Nothing.} AHHHH!!!”

It was at that point when I declared the fault was obviously with the button. Clearly there was something wrong with it, and your father’s turns were just getting lucky.

But no.

Your father looked at the situation objectively. He saw the culprit so clearly. “It’s you…I see you…You’re so intense going about this. You can’t even calm down and turn on a button…”

“My mom couldn’t do it either!” I countered on defense.

“Because you were probably standing over her watching her to see if she could do it.”

I paused.

This was true.

And this is true.

I am plagued by this quiet intensity; always have been (always will). I have my own Pig Pen’s cloud hovering about me at all times, a constant feeling of I need to be doing something. (This guilt I should be working, writing, pitching, something! Why can’t I cut the cord, why can’t I accept it’s just not happening right now, why can’t I let it go?)

I don’t know what my point in telling you this is…maybe…

…Sunday, the last day in Atlantic City when your dad and I were coming home I had such anxiety about missing you guys and getting home to you.

Now, I look back on that day when we had no responsibilities and no kids to look after and we weren’t even driving home, and say what the hell was I thinking?

Why wasn’t I slamming mimosas? (You: Who slams mimosas? Me: Moms.)

Why wasn’t I living it up?

You should’ve had to drag me out of the Revel Resort and Casino or whatever it’s called, kicking and screaming, or at least on your dad’s shoulders wearing a funny hat.

…Maybe the point in telling you this is try to instill in you the importance of relaxing. The importance of letting that quiet intensity slow to a simmer. The importance of living in the moment.

I must go now. There are five trillion Rice Krispies on the floor I must clean up before we do it all over again at lunch.

On, and on, and on.




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