When I was pregnant, I didn’t change any of my usual behaviors. I cooked, I cleaned. I grocery shopped. I ran errands. And I continued to teach. About seven weeks before my son was born, I even took my fourth-grade class on a walking field trip from our elementary school to a neighborhood public park. (About a mile walk, each way). My students had the opportunity to meet their pen pals, fourth-graders from a different elementary school. (They had written letters back and forth all year, a fun way of teaching the friendly letter format, and our meet-up trip was always the highlight of their letter-writing experience.)
About a month-and-a-half before Ryan’s birth, I did all the driving on our trip to Cambria (located about halfway between L.A. and San Francisco). We were celebrating my husband’s thirty-second birthday, and trying to savor every moment in one of our favorite vacation spots on what we knew would be our last trip for a while.
And I didn’t go out on an early maternity leave. In fact, I left work on a Friday afternoon to begin my maternity leave, thinking I’d have about a week until my son’s birth. Instead, he was born that Sunday -- a mere two days after my last day at work.
It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do any of these things. That I shouldn’t do these things. In my mind, I was pregnant, but still fully capable of doing all the things I wanted to do.
Now it seems like the tables have turned. Now, I feel like everything I do, or think about doing, is measured with a series of questions. Do I think I can do it? Will this cause me a lot of pain? Will this activity lead to an increased amount of pain experienced over a period of several days? You may remember that a few weeks ago I wrote about attending the high school graduation for one of my former kindergarten students. (Here's the link in case you missed that post: http://wendykennar.blogspot.com/2015/06/a-bittersweet-graduation.html) That event -- the drive to and from Pasadena, sitting through a two hour ceremony, the long day and night -- contributed to an increased amount of pain that I felt for days.
My son is on summer vacation, and we’ve been spending a lot of time together. Our “dates” (trips to the library, the book store, out for frozen yogurt) do take their toll on me. And it frustrates me that our dates, our games of basketball, the time we spend together can lead to so much pain. So much pain that the other day, I sat on my patio glider and started to cry in front of my son. And my seven-year-old son is then put in the uncomfortable situation of seeing his Mommy, the grown-up in charge, hurting and crying.
And there’s really nothing anyone can do about it.
And the whole thing just pisses me off.