Tuesday, August 5, 2008

11:46 p.m.

Late night belongs to me now. The house has dulled it's voice to a slow and steady thrum - the white noise of refrigerator, computer equipment. I walk down the stairs, passing Alice's room - listening for any stirrings from inside. The light from our bedroom leaves a small blue trail on the hallway floor.

In the living room I turn on a lamp, give myself some comfort in the quiet. Pumping has become a solitary experience, something I do in the dark house, something I do late at night when everyone is dreaming. Occasionally Fergus comes down to keep me company. He hopes for treats.

I sit hunched on the couch, listening to the humpf-humpf-humpf of the breast pump. I scan the room from this seat. I create to do lists in my head - the things left undone. I think about the day stretching out before me tomorrow and wonder if I will manage my time better. Is there ever a day that ends with satisfaction? Completion? A feeling that I have made the most of every second?

I close my eyes, meditate to the sound of the pump. I think of images that I'd like to paint - pieces I would like to make with bits of fabric - words I would like to commit to paper. In the black landscape of my mind I move mountains and create beautiful works of art. When I open my eyes, the yellow lamplight brings me back to the late hour, the feeling heavy in my eyelids.

When I am done, I walk to the kitchen, my bare feet padding on the wood floor. The wood is cool and comforting to my toes. I rinse the pump parts, carefully bag and tag the milk for Alice. She will need it tomorrow. I open the 'fridge and pull out the little plastic dish I use to keep the bags of milk. I count the bags, thinking of Alice, what she needs - how she trusts me to take care of her. I count the bags. They are so precious to me for what they represent, how much Alice needs every drop here. Sometimes I count the bags two and three times, thinking about Alice's hungry face, her smacking lips.

Many times I find my way to the den, to this computer, to the light of the monitor, to the white of this page. I think about my life. I think about my family. I try to represent them well. I often fail.

Chip is waiting for me upstairs. Waiting with closed eyes, gently sleeping. I will join him soon, and when I do, I know that I'll have a few moments of hesitation, wondering if I should wake him up, just to talk to him. To share the beauty of the quiet. To share a secret from the day. To kiss his nose. To rub his eyebrows.

Instead, I will watch his sleeping face, try to read his expression. Hope for good dreams. Hope for a good tomorrow.



November said...

Hi=) I'm not a mom but I love and felt that silent moment you depicted in your post. I love collecting quotes and taking things out of context too. Come visit www.atleastuhavureyesight.blogspot.com
I'd love to stick some of your fun quotes and get something like that started! Nite, November

The Wife said...

Well, dear heart, you've done it again...you've perfectly represented motherhood.

My only complaint is that I am not a night person. The nights, they are killing me...predawn I can handle, but by 10pm I'm done. And I stay done until around 3am. Weird no?

But you're right about the quiet and the dark and the precious contents of those bags. Hard as it has been these last days and week, much as I have been tempted to toss the breastfeeding out the window, it's too precious for me to actually follow through. It's not just the milk he needs, it's me, it's my time, my body, to be close to my heart however he can...

I love you, dear one. Wake Chip up now and then, you get some good talks when it's that late and you're both tired.

artemisia said...

Oh, this really moved me. This is so wonderfully written, Whimsy.

Kati said...

Awesome - loved it! You put life into words in a way I never could :)