whoever wrote this annoyingly cliche phrase…

should be publicly ridiculed for being so damn cliche.

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

and also, they are completely right.

when ruth is happy, i am elated, lifted up, made of the stuff of clouds (water vapor, you’re asking?).  when she is down or suffers in any way, i am more heavy than the heaviest thing, and buried deep in dark infertile terrain, far below the earth’s crust.  i am a tectonic plate, large, awkward, and slow, fighting against giant land masses.

i noticed this pretty early on in her existence outside the womb.  when she was in the womb, i didn’t really feel this way.  probably because she was more like an overgrown benign tumor than anything, or a bit of indigestion.  i was surprised when i noticed that when she was in the least bit of physical pain, i would feel it tenfold in my own body.  if she was sick, i would be the one drained and pale.  mental pain, even worse, as she got older and began having interactions, however obscure, outside of with me and greg and a few select others.

funtastic is a glorified mcdonalds playplace.  it is all bright colors, padded climbing areas, and corny music in the background.  we’ve been there a few times and i always prepare myself by stretching as i know that i will be spending a good portion of my time up in the big climb structure every time i go.  other parents chit-chatting below, sipping coffees, i envy you.  but you don’t get the work out that i do.  my ass is tighter than yours.  so, ha.

well, we went just a few days ago, and i, again, started off by following ruth (down the rabbit hole) up into the structure, down the slides, blah, blah, blah.  except i’m seven months pregnant.  and getting large.  but, more than that, i can’t stand up in the thing and exerting myself in any way while hunched over is one sure fire way to give myself a shitload of braxton-hicks contractions (non-painful practice contractions of the uterus leading up to labor) which are not painful, but can sort of take your breath away, make you feel like you’re gonna pee your pants ( i haven’t yet) and literature warns against too many of these as, i suppose, even though they are practice, they may have the power to dilate and efface your cervix a bit?  just guessing.  in any case, i must have been convincing when i told ruth that i needed to sit down and that i couldn’t climb with her any more because she let me go without a fight (very unusual) and, i couldn’t believe it, continued playing by herself up in the thing.

and she stayed playing up in the thing by herself.  and there were kids around.  and she had a good time (for those of you who don’t know ruth, this truly is a breakthrough of sorts as she is a very reserved individual and, in that situation, would normally refuse to go up without me and instead cling and whine until we left).  i was elated.  sitting down with the other parents, looking up and watching, i nearly had the sensation of a parent watching their son or daughter graduate or something, walk across the stage and get their diploma or something.  i may even have had a tear spring up in my eye, how i felt (plus, i’m pregnant people.  hormones verily drench my body at all times).

well, wouldn’t you know, it all had to go sour eventually.  i was watching her (like a hawk) when all of a sudden, she encountered a kid, who must have been around her age, as she was coming up a ramp and he wanted to go down it or something and they stopped face to face for a minute.  then, i saw him clearly yell at her, although i couldn’t make out what was said.  and i’m not joking.  the lava that welled up in my chest would have disintegrated that kid in an instant.  the venom that filled my eyes could have pierced him like a spear.  but i kept my cool and just watched for a minute, thinking something along the lines of, “there are all kinds of assholes out there and ruth is going to have to figure out what to do with them.”  she went by him and came running over to me.

i asked her what happened and she didn’t say anything.  “did someone yell at you?” i asked.  she said yes.  and i said, “next time, tell him not to yell at you, it’s not nice, and then avoid him.  he’s not a nice kid.”  that was the best i could do for worldly wisdom as my pulse slowed back down below 200.

it wasn’t too long before the same thing happened.  they came face to face again and again it looked like he was yelling at her.  so, i took the opportunity this time to walk, quickly, over to them and confront the kid, who yelled to me, “where is my sister?!”  or something equally nonsensical.  just then, his mom, who had been distracted up to that point, came rushing over, and took him away.

well, the kid was clearly a trouble maker and went on to push and steal things from other kids, and the mom was sort of the outcast in the place for having such an outrageous kid.  they left shortly thereafter.  but so did we.  sadly, the kid spoiled ruth’s rare good time.  she wouldn’t go up in the thing after that and kept asking to go home.

i left there feeling mixed feelings.  i felt at once, so proud of ruth for going up in the climby thing all by herself, sad about being left behind in her newly found independence, and angry that an aggressive kid was able to ruin it all in such short order.

after that, ruth was exhausted and fell asleep in the back seat, and i looked at her, seeing my heart, outside of my body.  how will this work, i wondered, when i have two of them?  i’m only used to having one heart.  how can i function with two hearts walking around outside my body?  getting hurt, getting sick, and having their feelings trampled on by others?  i suppose i’ll find out.

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Author: Terry

Welcome! I am a Waldorf and unschooling-inspired homeschooling parent of three, ages 2, 4, and 7 living in the Lansing area of Michigan writing from the front lines of parenthood. Join me as I try to navigate homeschooling and bask in the craziness of life with young ones. Feel free to leave a comment. I would love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by!

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