longing. i do it often. it should instead be written loooooonging. because longing is long. and, perhaps due to poetry and dramatic cinema, longing is perceived as a sad state of being. i find that a bit skewed. myopic. unfair. for me, longing is the birth of dreaming. and dreaming is the very breath of living.
last night was friday. the only thing that differentiated it from any other night in my calendar of stir craziness was the storm. the darkness overtook the clear sky quickly, like someone pouring black ink into a tub of water. it was terrible, at least by this town's standards. in memphis it would've been an average occasion of the summer sky, throwing bolts and tossing trees in a fit of overheated rage. the swirling wind sent mom spinning like the leaves, flitting around the house and onto the porch to put down the blinds, and when the power finally sputtered out, dad was quick with the hurricane lamps and just as fast out the door to get their dogs from the backyard. as lightning began to streak the sky with yellow-white, i handed mom the baby and began that be-damned journey down the stairs, across the giant basement, and out the back door for my dogs. joker was already at the door, ready to run inside and play like we do when he comes in for the night — which is all i can do to try to make up for disrupting (ruining?) his life with all the changes in my life — but instead i led him straight to his kennel, his tucked tail speaking his disappointment. back out the door for phaedra. by this time the storm had already brewed to nearly full force, and as i fiddled with the latches on her chain-link cage, i hoped neither she nor i would be in the way of the next bolt. in we went. it was so black in the basement that i had to feel around to guide her into her kennel and feel around some more to guide myself to the wooden stairs, where my fingers brushed against the rough edges of the bottom three, which joker had chewed in the earliest months after we moved here. if the basement were lit, the plastic sheets covering the first two feet of everything and anything in the entire basement would also be visible; my dad's attempt at fending off three sets of curious teeth and unruly bladders. three sets at first; now only two. last night, amidst the blackness and fury, the absence of my kaiser's frenzied barks was just as dark and loud.
with our four beasts safe and sound, save for the three cats hopefully fending for themselves, i found mom and dad sitting on the floor in their bedroom with my fat baby rolling back and forth on a green blanket, smiling and showing off his newest expression — a wide-mouthed, gum-displaying grin, which is my favorite...along with my other numerous favorites. i stretched out beside him and shook the heavily faded, pink-and-white hard plastic ball with the bell inside of it; the same ball i played with in 1976. my boy made a half-attempt at crawling toward it, and we praised him with squeals and claps and "what a big boy!" on repeat. as i lay there watching the three of us watching him, despite the joy evident on my parents' faces and my own smile, i felt a twinge of this scenario isn't quite right. or perhaps it's not right juxtaposed against the norm. except that whole mommy-daddy-baby thing is a total mind-bender. i want to want it, for pragmatic reasons, for my son. at the same time, it interferes with the vision i've always had for my life, in which there was no man-void. my vision was me and my career and my dogs and my home, in various manifestations over the years according to which place and which iteration of my career i was longing for at the time. now it's all that, plus 18 pounds of ever-fattening baby. and i'm happy to have him along...despite the torment of sleep deprivation, which i'm promised does have an end (somewhat), and i deign to admit that when that end comes i know i'll easily forget how momentously much it has sucked. i dream of living with my son. having adventures. building traditions. i remember that day — standing in front of my clawfoot tub, which i always wished had been in better shape bc it would've been so pretty without that peeling paint — when the white plastic stick showed a plus sign. i didn't cry. i think i thought something along the lines of well, look at that. it happened to me. and from that moment on i didn't wear single mom as a banner of sadness, of longing for what wasn't to be. weird, right? nonetheless true. i wasn't even mad, either...although i became that way, for a heavy handful of other reasons i'll elucidate some day down the road.
anyhow, single is uninspired. instead, i am a singular mom. one who will hurriedly blow a kiss goodbye to this unfinished blog, for there's a particular grin i'm missing...