I managed to crumple into a heap on my bed while holding the babe. I was still a mother, even in this melted state. I finally released the kind of tears you cry when a dozen times previous they’ve been stifled. These weren’t just today’s sobs. The questions I’d been evading for weeks, perhaps even months, fell into my mind like bombs being dropped by planes overhead, strafing across my otherwise rational thinking.
Who was I to think I could live my life well—this life right in front of me—and with any sense of joy?
At what point did I move from having a good handle on my priorities to just surviving my days?
Have I just messed this all up? What is wrong with me that I’m here, now, unable to hold it together?
I clamped my eyes shut, over the tears, as if I could somehow close the door on all the questions, the insecurity, the creeping sense of failure, and go on to make a fantastic gourmet dinner in a spotless kitchen. As if I could even press pause on the swirling around me for long enough to pray, or even form a sentence or grab a tissue.
They were shut for five seconds before the baby cried, joining me in my meltdown and reminding me that I didn’t have the luxury of time to gain perspective on this internal rift. And then a knock at the door and I heard a squabble down the hall, between which there was a lineup of blocks in primary colors scattered across my hallway.
How did I get here? And what do I do now?