grief at the edges

boy

the shock of your body:
lean, suddenly

I failed to notice
when it lost its
memory of
enclosure
(resuming that
knees-up
posture like
re-folding
origami)

I had only
noticed it
fattening
on bread
on milk
on chicken
on fruit
on cheese
on pastry
and pushed
down the
grief of
my body’s
failure
photo 2.JPG

I had the nicest weekend with my son.  He's a little over two and half and we can really spend time together now like two people enjoying each others company.  We went out to eat at a little diner and he sat in the booth across from me, chatting amiably while we waited for our food and ably cutting up his own waffles with a knife and fork when the food arrived.  He helped me make a cake, we chose books together at the library.  It was all lovely and it felt, in a way, like what all the hard work of parenting an infant has been leading up to.  And, well, one way or another of course it is.  Somehow today, though, I keep feeling these waves of grief.  Grief that he's growing and I don't have a baby anymore, sure, but something more too.  

I think that a lot of what many people find so impossible about parenting an infant is sort of what I loved about it.  I loved feeling so raw and ragged and exposed.  I loved the animal survival of my days.  It was the most self-annihilating experience I've ever had.  The bullshit press of normal life just lifted and there was nothing but food, sleep, love, tears, yelling, laughing, pissandshitandvomit: time dilating and contracting by its own weird logic.  Even after I returned to work and things got a little less far-out, that intensity was still available and often unavoidable.  But as he's toddling into this reasonable boyhood, I feel myself around all the time.  I can't turn around without finding myself there.  And, god, I want so much and need so much.  And I feel a kind of grief.  And I don't know if I'm finally grieving for all that I lost over the last few years:  my child-free life, my relationship, my home, my imagined future, my free time.  Maybe I'm finally back, enough, from wherever I had to go to get through raising a baby to grieve all of that.  Maybe I'm just grieving the loss of that raw, self-gone state as much as I'm grieving the fact that my boy is no longer a baby.  I don't know where it is coming from but it perches there at the edge of all this happiness I have in my life right now, still flying away if I turn to look at it.  

I looked at my stack of books and New Yorkers and I burst into tears.  

I looked at my stack of books and New Yorkers and I burst into tears.