Just sad

2017 has been a dragging, sad kind of year for me.

There is no reason.

I have a beautiful, healthy family–a great husband (seriously), two kiddos and another beautiful baby on the way. I have a good Father in heaven. I have all of my needs and many of my wants. I have a great job, a great church, great friends. I’ve had no big losses recently, no big scares. Life is stable. Things are good. Why oh why am I sad?

On some mornings, when we do the kid trade-off and it’s my turn to go upstairs to get dressed and ready for the day, I just sit on the edge of the bed feeling paralyzed. Like maybe I can’t even bring myself to move–not even to walk over to the bathroom.

It makes me crazy, this feeling that I’m not in control of my emotions. That I can’t bully myself, cajole myself or even trick myself back into happiness (I’ve tried).

The guilt just adds to it–guilt over being a burden to my husband, who shouldn’t have to deal with my irrational emotions after a long day taking care of kids and house. That’s not what he signed up for, right?

(um, he says he did)

I love having fun. I love laughing. I love delighting in the ordinary. I want to be vibrant, energetic, passionate. I want to enjoy everything, from little to big–from my first cup of coffee to the feeling of Benjamin’s solid little one-year-old body in my lap. But all feelings of delight and joy have been smothered by a cold fog that leaves me moving through my day half-senseless.

The voice in my head says,

What’s your problem.

Why can’t you get your act together.

You’re pathetic.

Ungrateful.

Weak.

Sometimes my husband tries to cheer me up–and it works.

Other times, I don’t want to be cheered up–it takes too much effort on everyone’s part, mine included. Those days, after the kids are in bed, I just want to go straight to bed with a book and disappear into someone else’s world.

(Thank God for good books.)

If anything, these past months are giving me a renewed empathy for those who have walked or are walking through depression. When you’re bouncing about your life, happiness feels easy. Those who don’t have it perhaps are doing something wrong?

But no.

And after all, maybe why am I sad is the wrong question to ask.

Maybe there is no question–or answer.

Maybe it’s just sad.

And I’m there.




The House of No Secrets

[last night]

Night time in our little house.

I’m upstairs in the bathroom off our master bedroom. I’m pregnant, just clearing the first trimester, tired and bloated. I look in the mirror. I lean in closer. How many zits, exactly, do I have?

I estimate one million billion on the right side of my neck alone.

And why must they be on my neck???

And is it pregnancy or the French fries slathered in mayonnaise and ketchup that I can’t seem to stop eating?

(pregnancy, definitely pregnancy, I’m not giving up the fries)

Also, I’m pretty sure I have a new wibbly-wobble in my neck skin.

A hot shower is exactly what I need.

I creep down the stairs and peer out into the hall, with its sight to the dining room table where my husband sits, reading over my most recent version of a manuscript and making notes with a pencil (kind, kind man).

“Hey baby,” I whisper, “want to take a shower with me?”

A door bursts opens.

Out from the room where she’s (supposedly) been in la-la land comes a pajama-clad four-year-old with night-rosy cheeks, golden hair flowing about her shoulders like a lion’s mane. She’s tugging at the sleeves of her sleeper as if to take it off and smiling like it’s Christmas morning.

We look at the exuberant face of our daughter.

“Uh,” says my husband. “I think Mom meant me.”

I look at her pink little face and feel a monumental stab of mama-guilt. Because maybe she’s been waiting all her life for Mom to whisper an invitation to a secret midnight shower—tip-toeing up to the top floor with its shower of many spigots in the very middlest of the night and playing her favorite game–spraying the shower walls with water and laughing maniacally as she ‘cleans the bathroom.’ Very possibly, I’ve just dashed every hope and dream she’s ever had.

“I’ll take another shower with you soon,” I say to her with my most winning smile.

Alice considers my offer. “Can I make a nest on my floor with my blankets?”

“Yes,” my husband and I say at the same time. “Go for it.”