Waiting to exhale

My bad season starts all the way at the end of November. It's the feeling of walking towards the edge. Not all the way to it yet, but certainly towards. December 31st is our N years and 11 months day. It's been tough so far, for N=0 and N=1, to reconcile New Year's Eve, a big, huge deal for those who hail from the Old Country, with the inescapable understanding that the event being celebrated takes us smack into the longest, coldest anniversary month. Januaries themselves have so far been difficult. Not every day, but many. Most? And when that's over, there is still, just over the February hump, the due date anniversary.

Two years ago today was the Tuesday after. After the due date, due date that is the day after his sister's birthday. Monkey was born on her due date, which is why, I think, even though A has his own birth day, I am unable to let go of the due date. Two years ago today was also the Tuesday after Monkey's 5th birthday party. For which I'd gone entirely overboard. The present she wanted most of all-- her baby brother to be born right on her birthday,-- wasn't going to happen. So it's only logical that I went into overdrive for this party, yes? And it was a good party, don't get me wrong. Hell, it was a great party. And in the end I was exhausted, overwhelmed by tiredness, but also (DUH!) by grief.

And yet, there was not much room for me to cocoon-- my house was teeming with relatives. They've come to celebrate the birthday and to mark the due date. They've done both, and it was good. But, at times, it was also too much. Too much noise, too much talk, too much space, physical and head both, occupied.

Two years later, and the season had been hard, again. Heh-- not so much had as has. The season is still hard, and still going on. I think I expected it to be easier. Not easy, just easier. And, I realize now, I expected it to end already. What, too much to ask?

It's not that I think things should be easy by now, an it's not that I expect a magic wand to be waived the day after an anniversary, freeing us for another year. It's more that I think of these seasons as release valves, allowing us to feel and release whatever hard things need to be felt. This year, though, I think I have been too crowded to exercise the valve, my mom here for a visit on the anniversary, and now both my parents for this year's iteration of Monkey's birthday followed by the due date anniversary. The time in between eaten up by work and more work and some garden variety colds.

My parents left Tuesday morning, and that afternoon, after I dropped Monkey off at gymnastics, I headed for the cemetery. I haven't been since A's birthday, when the snow was covering the ground, knee-deep. I hadn't planned to go. But my plans changed midday, and suddenly I was the designated gymnastics driver, and the place being not five miles from the cemetery, I had to go. Had you been magically transported into my car at that very moment to magically ask me what it was I was hoping to find where I was going, I am not sure I would be able to tell you. I have been blocked, crowded, boxed in. Maybe it was the open space and the early spring air I was seeking, pleasantly cool, with just a hint of the warm that is to come in the months ahead. Maybe I was hoping to cry buckets and leave cleansed. Maybe. I don't even know that I can say that. I was suffocating. I needed a change, some kind of change.

Monkey's birthday weekend was an exercise in just enough-- just enough barely controlled chaos to give the girl a great celebration without losing my ever-loving mind. Monday, the due date anniversary, was a ridiculously busy work day, loaded up with holy crap, how did I miss this-- Purim is tonight?!?!?! And parents. Whom I love dearly, and who are really usually better than most. But what I needed was room, and instead they hovered.

Did you know that I was supposed to post on Monday? I asked for the date on our cozy little GITW scheduling calendar. I thought I would have things to say. Something profound perhaps, about the birthday and the due date, the sweet and the bitter. Something. What I had, just then, and for two more days after, was a whole lot of nothing.

I am a bit better now. But only just better. Getting my house back to myself (and the usual suspects residing therein) has helped. But the week has continued in the busy, though no longer impossible, mode. The weekend in front of me is busy again, with the things that need doing in the here and now. Deliverables, so to speak. And so I continue to leaf through the calendar, forward, looking for less, looking for days not already overcommitted, not promised to too many tasks.

I am looking for the time I can spend with myself, and with A. Because this is what this is really about-- he is being crowded out. I allow him to be crowded out. I never did cry at the cemetery this Tuesday. I felt the weight, played with it, shifted it around. But it didn't come out. I guess it's not ready to come out. Yet.


What are your seasons? If you've gone through a few now, how have they been for you? Do you ever feel too crowded? How do you find, create, or protect the time and space you need?