Right after I had Zac, I had this period of mourning for the person (I thought I had) left behind when I held my infant in my arms. I thought that I would never drink beer with abandon again. Never watch a stripper grind against a pole while Def Leppard's song, "Pour Some Sugar on Me" was blaring through the club's loud speakers again. Never spend way too much money on herbal supplements and think about 'colon cleansing' again. I thought that I needed to give up a part (if not all) of myself to be the mother that Zac needed me to be.
I've learned that isn't the case.
I still drink. The strippers and Def Leppard are absent, although that's really for the best most days. The bottle of phylum husks currently on my kitchen counter indicates that I've not completely weaned myself away from spending money on the regulatory functions of my digestive system. Sometimes I even like to pretend that I have the same energy as the 24 year-old woman I was before I learned about Peanut.
When I enter this delusional state, it starts to seem like a good idea to go for a road trip on Saturday, even when I spent all Friday night hunched over wondering if I need to poop or if my uterus is going to explode in a blaze of glory all over my couch (I still haven't figured out where the cramping is coming from). Even my headache and utter fatigue didn't deter me from waking up so very, very early on Saturday morning with Zac, who now thinks that sleeping beyond 7:15am is some kind of mortal sin, and packing for the journey.
I went up to Austin to for-the-love-of-God get away from Houston and meet John Farmer, who told me that I should use his full name in this post, and Carolyn. John Farmer and I walked around the state capital, which is filled with portraits of many, many old white men and large groups of children learning about the state seal. Then we went to the Austin Museum of Art and a restaurant across the street for an early dinner. I was so tired from the three hour drive up to Austin that I seriously considered asking John Farmer to find something else to do for two hours while I slunk back into my car for a nap. I didn't do that though and I was barely able to control the cramping emanating from my lower half and the yawns coming out of my mouth as we made our way to 6th street for a beer.
I called Carolyn and she joined John Farmer and I at a bar called the Dizzy Rooster that boosts a sign above the cash register proclaiming, "Dance on the bar at YOUR OWN RISK!" Normally, that would be my kind of place. After a week of intense stress, though, (from the crazy ex-wife) insomnia (from my own insanity), and a hotter-than-expected day in Austin, I was done. I wanted to go home to my bed in Houston and curl up with a stuffed animal I named Sick Dog. I wanted to be anywhere, but in that bar, trying to talk over the loud music.
Carolyn took me to her house and, for all of the Leonard Cohen fans out there, fed me "tea and oranges that came all the way from China" and exuded a grace and tranquility with her actions, her home, and her life that caused me almost instantly fall into a deep sleep in her guest bedroom. Let it not be said that I'm the best houseguest ever.
I don't mourn the person I left behind when I became "Momma" to a child that wakes up in the middle of the night just to hang out with me. I mourn sleep more. Self-identity be damned, I want a pillow and blankie please.