Photograph ALL the Days?

We are now five weeks out from my birthday, so prime self-evaluation/goal-setting/list-making territory, and one of the goals I am most tempted by is the 365 project. You’ve heard of those, right? Where you take a picture every day of the year and end up with a seamless record of every single day?

I’m tempted.

Consistency is not my greatest virtue, but I’m tempted.

And what better year than my thirtieth? A nice round number, now most definitely an adult. Also a parent, which makes for easy subject material when the inspiration lacks. And it would be a brilliant excuse to work more on my photography chops—something I’m always hoping to do and rarely doing.

We’ll see.

In the mean time I evaluate like mad, start endless notes on my iPod with grandiose titles, and plan my birthday party (a theme party! My first since I was 5!).

Oh. And play Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Iris is finally old enough to think it’s the bomb.



Summer Rain

Yesterday, it rained off and on all day and the humidity crept inside to make the 3 (and only 3) long strands of hair on Iris’s head curl up. We’ve been cooped inside for weeks no thanks to our hottest-ever summer, so I grabbed our big red umbrella, stuffed Iris in the carrier, and sauntered out.

I love rain.

There is a small community play park in our neighborhood tucked on a short, no-outlet street a block or two from our house. I used to walk down there in the winter when I was pregnant and huge, sit on a frozen park bench and think about what it would be like in future summers, this first year when she’s only big enough for the baby swings; next year when she’s toddling around, the year after when she’s shrieking and running and cries when it’s time to leave.

Yesterday the wooden benches were soaked deep, the leaves heavy.

A hummingbird swooped down to hover in front of us, looking hopefully at our umbrella. I couldn’t tell you the last time I saw a hummingbird.

To be honest, I couldn’t tell you the last time I was paying attention.

I should work on that.

Amid the Swirling Dust

We all have our favorite vantage points, our habitual perch from which to talk, write, think. You see it in professors and preachers. Certainly in writers, which is part of reason I burn out approximately three books after I discover my new favorite-most-awesome author.

I, for example, am most comfortable at the opening of a bottleneck. It’s been rough, I always want to say. It’s been hard and grit-requiring, but I am still here. Wiser and possibly even more fabulous. The worst is behind me now, and I can see verdant fields of everything that is highly-organized, successful, and calm stretching before me.

Which is why I haven’t written much this summer.

I keep thinking I will. There are, after all, a continuing stream of pictures and thoughts to catalogue. But if I’m going to write about them, I’m going to have to find a new perch because it’s not better. Not even a little bit. And I’m not exactly sure what to do about that.

We are not at the end of a bottleneck.

There are no verdant fields.

Honestly, I’ve been pretty depressed for the last two months. Not postpartum officially; almost entirely sleep-related. Iris still wakes up 4-6 times every night. Her eyes snap open and she cries if I set her down for naps and try to leave the room (sometimes, like right now, she will sleep curled next to me on the bed, and then my hands are free). But sometimes she fusses for hours. Sometimes she howls. She is adorable, healthy, copper-haired, and curious as a monkey. But not easy.

See? Super adorable

Sleep deprivation becomes stress, and stress makes me destructive.

Self-destructive in some ways. Destructive to my relationships that aren’t equipped to deal with high pressure, and very destructive to my beliefs about God. If you don’t think 5 months with a high needs baby can affect your beliefs about God you must have a different definition of “high needs.” …Or maybe a different definition of God.

See, that’s the hard part. There are hopeful possibilities for this kind of turmoil—sometimes you have to pull out a few rows of the knitting to get yourself righted, and sometimes you have to raze one building before you can build a better one in its place. Maybe Iris is just living up to her namesake and sending her mama one very pointed message from a certain deity. That’s possible.

Or maybe I will come out of this more detached than ever, with a sort of floating conviction that there is a God—I don’t see myself abandoning that—but cured of the evangelical insistence that one can be coffee-shop-friends and next-door-neighbors with God.

If we’re admitting the truth, my prayers are almost never answered. I do not feel infusions of grace, and I do not feel comforted.

I’m not sure what that means.

Most of the time, I do my best not to draw conclusions. These are early days. It takes time. How to untangle depression from spiritual reflection is the emotional equivalent of neurosurgery, and I’m not exactly there yet. It’s hard sometimes to know what’s real and what’s not. So we wait. Pay attention. Think.

Change another diaper.

Anyway. That’s why I haven’t been around. I am used to saying stupid things and I am used to oversharing on the Internet, but this kind of depletion is giving me, as they say about the mighty Sarlacc, a new definition for pain and suffering. And you get burned sometimes for that kind of honesty. I wasn’t sure if I was up for that.

On the other hand it’s lonely.

And there are bright spots. I’d hate to discount that and lose out on those memories. My ongoing text chat with Carlie that carries me through rough nap times and carb cravings alike. The amazing Christina, who has cheerfully picked up groceries for us every week FOR THREE MONTHS. And all the family moments of unbearable cuteness.
It’s hard, but it’s good.
It’s good, but it’s hard.
That’s what’s going on with me.