The boy stayed at my house tonight. He is growing more accustomed to spending the night here, slowly. There is still so much unformed parental habit that I need to self-mold from the used ball of multicolored play-doh that is my life. I watch Rachel do it, she makes it seem nearly effortless. Mothering, it is simply something she is doing while she's also doing other things for the boy. For me, everything is an effort, nothing is practiced, too little rehearsal time put in. I haven't memorized my lines. I have forgotten to give my life completely over to it.
The boy said he didn't want to sleep in his bed. He wanted to sleep with me. As we were drifting off, after reading a little light Curious George, he started to show signs of distress, wanting to know where Mommy was and why couldn't he go home to sleep.
I explained that this was his home, too.
He kept emphasizing that he wanted to go to his home.
After about ten difficult minutes of that it began to look like he was winding down. His started the familiar nightly pattern of pre-sleep tossing and turning. He assumed his favorite spot at the very center of the bed, with all of the possible covers lumped underneath him, arms and legs jutting out unexpectedly into my rib cage, throat, or head.
He sat up and asked where Barkley was.
All that I could muster was, "I'm sorry."
It was a fair question. Where was his puppy.
The only meaningful answer that I could give him was that I was sorry, and I was, as useless as that is, I was being honest. You're going to have to start getting used to sleeping away from your puppy, buddy. Yet another unexpected joy to spring from all of this, another senseless set of feelings in which to try to come to terms, both with and for somebody else. Born into a life of separation anxiety. Now I am somehow depriving a child of their puppy, too.
The whole thing is irretrievably fucked, we both know it. We’re trying our best to create a space where the kid can grow up in relative normalcy, which is a laugh, considering the two authorities that combined with that publicly stated intention.
I look around and I can’t believe how monumental and commonplace was our failure. It’s the simplest thing in the world, having kids, people do it all of the time, but no, no… Every morn and every night, Some are born to sweet delight.
So, here I sit, penning this pathos in near Blakean darkness, to the whispered rhythm of miniature breathing, not knowing what else to do. When the soul slept in beams of light.
Thinking perhaps of getting a puppy.