We go to California. Sunshine and perfect temperatures and swimming pools and the sea. We come home. Oh, home. I am in love forever with home. We spend a few nights watching my nieces. I don’t understand how people do this, parenting. I can’t sleep wondering if the doors are locked, if a child-stealer has broken in to take them. As usual, I allow imaginary events of horror to take over me completely. I picture my family’s faces after learning their daughters and nieces are missing. I think that it wouldn’t matter what they said, I know they would never be able to forgive me.
Do I tell myself that this is a dramatized, ridiculous, and most importantly, completely untrue series of events that aren’t worth losing sleep over? Well, I try. But this is my mind we’re talking about. It doesn’t listen to reason.
I’m exhausted. These kids sleep better than most, but anyone under the age of 12 tends to have a way of sucking all of the energy out of me. I don’t know what to do or how to act around kids. I understand how mothers are always saying they feel like a failure. It kind of seems like a losing game, raising humans. You have to let go of your ego, surrender to the sticky, loud, messy situations that inevitably come.
My mother helps in the baby sitting, thank heaven. Somewhere in there, she looks at my crumpled frame on the floor, asks, “Oh Meghan, how are you ever going to have a baby?” And I laugh. Because I know she doesn’t mean it in a rude way, and because it isn’t as if I don’t ask myself this exact question most every day. As if this isn’t the entire reason I’ve lived my childless life the way I have in the first place.
Though, this did bring me to realize: people do seem to like to talk that way about me. “I just don’t know how she’ll ever graduate if she keeps ditching classes like that. I don’t see how she’s going to hold a job if she keeps sleeping in like that. I don’t see how she’ll keep her figure eating like that. I don’t see how she’ll do things the way she should if she goes on doing them like that.“
And it’s true. I agree. They don’t see. They never do. Because what people mean by “the way she should” is “the way I would (or already did).” But those things are not the same. I’m not going to do things the same way as anyone else, I’m going to do them however I see fit.
People never seem to stop expecting you to be exactly like them, even if nobody ever has been throughout all of the generations of time. Even if that was never the point in the first place.
I can’t find what I am. All I can see is how I fail to be others. And if all you can see is how you fail to be others, how can you ever be what you are?