Family Sick Day

Todays a family sick day. Jack and Fiona, my four-year-old twins, are playing in the yard, naked. I can hear them laugh and talk, get along.

“I’ll be right here, sitting in the shade” I say.

I flip over the lounge chair cushion. Dark blue, non-faded, no oak leaves sticking their tiny thorns in, like the opposite, exposed to the elements side is. Indigo blue with shadows from the leaves on the Bay tree. I can hear crickets and birds. I see a humming bird drink nectar from a magenta flower. I just want to sit here, rest, listen to my kids play, write.

“Real mud! Real Mud!” yells Fiona.

“Mom, Mom, Mom.” I let her call three times before I answer.

“Yes” I say.

“Where are you, I can’t see you” She says.

“I’m up on the lounge chair” I say, but she can’t hear me. I tell Jack to show Fiona where I am.

“I want cotton tails” Fiona whines. I don’t know what she’s talking about. They tell me they are talking about the cheese puffs they ate earlier. I write down a number, 7777# and rip the paper out of my journal and hand it to Jack. I don’t think Jack and Fiona can do this yet, read the numbers and unlock the pantry. I’m buying myself some time, a few more minutes to sit here on the lounge chair. A few more minutes to write.

Jack comes out and tells me it doesn’t work, that he pushed 777#.

“Oh” I say. “You need to push 7777#”

Jack calls Fiona over and hands her the paper. A few minutes later I hear the beep of the unlocking pantry.

“We did it” Says Jack. They are both so excited, so proud of this accomplishment. I’ll have to change the code now. Fiona calls me now, she needs help opening a bowl. I go inside to help, and I shudder. My sink is full of dirty dishes, Jack and Fiona have full bags of rice cakes and Bunny tails. The contrast in here and outside is striking. In here, It’s stuffy and reminds me of everything I need to get done or am supposed to get done.

They didn’t want to go to school today. Yesterday, Fiona was sick , Jack doesn’t have school on Tuesdays. They watched T.V. all morning while I exercised and made food and drank coffee. We went to the park in the afternoon and I got a headache. The headache got worse and worst and we all went to bed early. Today I woke up feeling like I had a hangover, but I haven’t drunk. Today, when neither Jack, nor Fiona wanted to go to school I was relieved.

Wednesdays are busy days and I am thankful to myself I took the day off. I didn’t take Jack and Fiona to their gymnastics class and I am missing my sign language class. I’m glad I made the decision to rest even if it means missing things I love and letting my kids watch T.V. almost all day.

When I woke up this morning I got a questionnaire I needed to fill out in preparation for my appointment with my psychiatrist tomorrow morning. It was the standard form asking questions about how I’ve been feeling. I marked “Not at All” to all the questions but one for the first time since I’ve been visiting psychiatrists. I paused at the question about anxiety because I get anxiety all the time. I get stress and depression and moments when I can’t form the words, nothing left inside to say to anybody.

I’m just tired. I don’t think I could feel any other way, or that another way of feeling would be helpful or healthier. I don’t feel like I’m trapped, or my life is meaningless. Whenever I start thinking about why I don’t need to take anti-depressants I start thinking about why I started taking them.   

I think that sometimes things just build up, trauma, stress, disappointment, not enough time in the studio, and sometimes we fall into a deeper sense of melancholy. Our coping mechanisms aren’t strong enough to tackle too much of a heavy load of anxiety and grief.

I don’t know the answer. I don’t know what I’ll tell the doctor about why I stopped taking the pills. I want to stop doubting myself.

Today was a good day to stay home. Today was a good day to take a rest because I needed it. Maybe that’s why I don’t need my anti-depressants anymore. Because now I know when to rest. I don’t know, maybe there is no answer to this question.

I can feel the moisture filling the sky, it turns light grey.

Jack, Fiona, and I planted wild flowers today. They want to go down and see if they’ve grown yet.

I turned off the T.V. and as I was walking to the kitchen I saw Jack peeing in a sock on the deck.

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist