The soundtrack of those long, dark weeks

I sit at my desk in my small third-floor office, the only sound the click of the computer keyboard as I write a few sentences in Scrivener.  I listen to You Are My Sunshine wafting through Whit’s closed bedroom door and sit back in my chair, quiet, letting the song wash over me.  The song changes to Puff the Magic Dragon and my eyes fill with tears.  I go stand in his dim, nightlight-lit room, watching him sleep.

The shadowy room is full of ghosts who whisper to me.  I can hear the faint squeak of the yellow rocker as I sit in it, pushing back and forth, back and forth.  I hold a sleeping baby Grace and my tears splash on the blanket in which she is swaddled.  I lean over and plant a kiss on her forehead, my face wet with my crying, and murmur to her I am sorry.

I listen to those long-ago years, listen to the story they tell of a mother as newborn as her baby daughter, of a woman startled by the yawning cavern that has opened up right in the middle of her life.  I hear myself rushing through bedtime, desperate for an hour when I’m nobody’s mother.  I listen to Come Away To Sea, to Blackbird, to Baby Mine, to the soundtrack of those long, dark weeks and months.  I listen and I ache, wishing I could have those nights back.  In part because I want to do them differently, with more love, more patience, less frustration, less impatience.  Because I want my first experience of motherhood with my first baby to have been different.  But also just because I want those nights back.  Every single one of them.

To listen to You Are My Sunshine, to hear myself sing it in a whisper to a sleeping baby in my arms.  One more time.

Please click over to Momalom for lots of beautiful writing on today’s 5 for 5 topic, Listening.

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  1. Posted April 27, 2012 at 4:58 am | Permalink

    That picture slays me; always have, always will!

  2. Posted April 27, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Beautifully written!

  3. Posted April 27, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    This is so beautiful. So incredibly real. I am for the first time realizing how much listening matters. To the songs we play and those we compose in our heads. To the voices that stream in and out of our minds. To the ordinary clicking and clacking of our days. To our kids. To our dreams.

    Thanks for writing this. You better keep writing this.

  4. Posted April 27, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Wow, such gorgeous writing. So glad that I found you through the 5 for 5 link up this week. It sounds like we have had similar struggles with staying present.

  5. Posted April 27, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Oh Lindsay, you really got me with this one! I don’t even know where to start. . . that picture? the regret? the being trapped in that darkness responsible for another fragile life? how it’s all too much sometimes, and yet perfectly impossible. The loss. Sadness against such joy. Any of us (like me) who has been through PPD knows EXACTLY what you’re talking about.


  6. Posted April 27, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    We do our best as parents yet there will always be moments we wish we could be better. Hindsight is 20/20 but at that moment, we may have given all we could give.

    Beautiful writing, as usual.

  7. Posted April 27, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    NOthing I can really add to these comments, except heartfelt agreement. I so know that feeling of wanting back what’s over. But could we bear it? I think not. Moving forward is hard enough. And so we have to trust that in the way that matters, we DO have those moments, that they live in us, are part of us, infinitely and eternally, for having lived them. Even if we didn’t live them as attentively, as gracefully, as we might wish.

  8. Posted April 27, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Those dark nights made way for the beautiful music that is your life now, having survived them.

  9. Posted April 27, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    When Miss D. had colic, I’d dance her around and play Lyle Lovett over and over. I still can’t hear him without thinking of those dark days.

  10. Posted April 27, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I think this stays with us always, you know, this desire to go back, make things different? The frustration, the tears, the dark days and thoughts. Maybe over time it lessens, we understand ourselves better, we get better at all of this. I hope it lessens. Be gentle on yourself.

  11. Posted April 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    What a beautiful photo. I would never have guessed it was from a hard time. I guess that is what sometimes makes times so hard – the aloneness. Beautiful writing per usual. I too wish I could go back … But luckily there are so many good days ahead.

  12. Posted April 27, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I too have sometimes raced to the hour I am no one’s mother. It’s not that I don’t love being a mom…I just feel so frazzled some days, forgetting to live in the present with my daughter. To listen with my heart and mind.

    You write a wonderful reminder to cherish all of these moments with our children who grow up too fast. Way. Too. Fast.

  13. Posted April 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh, yes. To do those nights again and give more and take less … yes.

  14. Posted April 29, 2012 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    You’ve painted a picture that we mothers past the newborn stage find all too familiar. Those nights and days are so very long and we do what we can to get through them. But if we could come to them honestly knowing where they fell within the bigger picture, wouldn’t so many of us done better the first time around? A beautiful post, Lindsey. I’ve so enjoyed being back here more regularly this week!

  15. Posted April 29, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    This post is so beautiful, and so real. I was absolutely floored reading about your experiences, and amazed and inspired by your courage and strength.

  16. Posted April 30, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Yes, yes, yes. I wish I had been more patient, more stable, more . . . faithful, as in full of faith that we’d be okay, somehow.

    I wish I’d understood that it isn’t a question of BEING a mother, that motherhood, for me, is an always-becoming, a process, a taffy-pull on the weakest parts of me. That I would get stronger.

    Maybe that’s the answer I’m looking for: that I do get stronger, for my kids, and with them. I don’t know — but I’m glad you ask these questions and inspire me to look for my answers.