Sitting down to finally put together some music for Brandees wedding, it would be more accurate to say I have gone into hiding in order to avoid my current house guest. Smokey Ronit the Jewish Grandmother. I never thought a smoker could drive me so crazy. In all fairness I have never known a smoker that would be willing to hold a cigarette in one hand and a three week old in the other. I have spent the first two days of this trip telling her to shut the door while smoking, put the cigarette down while carrying the car seat, and no, we will not sit outside in the smoking section for lunch.
Even better the toilet is broken. Not our toilet, her toilet. This woman has had diverticulitis more times than I have leaked through my nursing pads, so take me seriously when I say this is not a person with which one wants to share a bathroom. Last night at 3 a.m. she had to come through our bedroom to use the toilet in there because the landlord has not fixed my toilet in the three days I have been calling.
I will be the first to admit that I am still a spindle in the weaving of the self doubt, self loathing, and pride that composes part of even the best mothers. This is why in the middle of taking my three week old daughter out to lunch, when she wakes and cries in the restaurant I begin, piece by piece to slowly fall apart the end result being me forcing my passenger to let me pull over so that she can drive us the rest of the way home while I sit in the back seat and console my new baby.
I tried to feed Cohen in the ladies room so that I could return to my cheeseburger and beer, but there was a bulimic two stalls down. At first I just heard this woman coughing and felt guilt for having my daughter in a bathroom with a sick person, only to realize the woman was making herself vomit.
There was humor in looking down at Cohen. I thought, I might be sitting on a public toilet with my pants on, but youre eating a meal in a bathroom. As is the case in most situations, vomit trumps humor and I took Cohen to the car to finish nursing.
She went back to sleep for a few miles, but was letting me know that her patience was maxing out for the day. I pulled over to feed her some more. All the while Ronit is on her cell phone telling the person on the other end of the line that the baby is crying because I am obviously not capable of feeding her properly and in the future I should be advised to take a bottle with us when we leave the house. How stupid of me.
We get back into the car, Cohen strapped in, Ronit off of the phone, the Mommy in tears but willing to drive again. It took all of five minutes before Cohen was inconsolably wailing again. A new cry. A new blood curdling cry. The kind of cry that says, Remember when pain was something that could be overcome by imagining your own demise? Well now pain is mine for you to feel, and you wont want to miss a second because the thought of me having to feel it alone ends your world! I stop the car. Ronit drives and I crawl into the back seat holding Cohens screaming face in my hands. I tell Ronit to wait, I may need to take her out to feed her again, and just then she stops crying. My pinky is in her mouth. I sit back and tell Ronit we can keep driving everything is fine. I sigh and realize that her whole world is my pinky in her mouth.
Everyday I think I know the love I feel for this child only to have that love turned inside out and into a new bigger love. I am constantly rushing to accomplish the mundane, when she is growing eyelashes for one time only. She is getting longer. She still needs me. And all of this guilt, the compulsion to lie, to fib, to say that I am fine is beyond me. I rode for the next 20 minutes with tears rolling down my face and my pinky in her mouth just relieved that every moment in my life has lead me right to her. At home I took her into the bedroom and stared at her for an hour before drifting off to a guiltless sleep with her milk streamed face smashed against my breast.
This morning Ronits perfume is surely the culprit of what will inevitable be another sleepless night for me, as I am convinced between her cigarettes and bathing herself in Issey Miyaki she raises Cohens chances of dying from SIDS by at least 70 percent. My mother is here now, and kindly distracting Ronit on the back porch while I finish writing this. I burned two cds for the wedding and am proud of my selections. While my brain is still missing chunks, my heart is full for today.