Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the neighbour’s terrible loud music that played all afternoon. Maybe it was the 1000th headbutt from Poppy. Maybe it was the 2000th yell/grunt to get something she wants instead of using words. Maybe it was the dogs staring blankly or ignoring me altogether when I try to stop their barking. Maybe it was Mike questioning everything I asked him to do. Maybe it was having a toddler climb up me as I tried to enjoy my chicken and quinoa. Maybe it was the glass crashing to the floor or the open faced jam sandwich hitting the floor. Maybe it was the dishes in the sink or the slimy piece of tomato Poppy spit out for me to step on. Maybe I just felt like a big, fat, pregnant meat-suit tired of never getting a moment of peace to herself.
Maybe I felt invisible. Maybe I felt used. Maybe, after giving and trying to be everything all at once for so long, I finally broke.
It was as quick as lightening and all that remained was me in a weeping heap, a shocked husband, daughter and dog, and the distinct smell of ozone. Every ache, every hurt, every guilt, and every inadequacy swelled up and poured out of me. I was embarrassed and silent for what felt like a long time until Mike, with a slow and gentle hand, reached over and touched me as if I were a wounded and frightened animal. One touch to let me know he heard me; he got me; it was ok; I was forgiven, without words.
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
– Dinah Craik (1826-1887), English poet and novelist
Be gentle with yourself so you can, in turn, be gentle with those you love.