It's not that I haven't been motivated. Oh no, oh heavens no, I've been motivated. I've been so motivated, in fact, that I haven't been able to finish a $%^& project. Part of it has been my general business and merriment, of course. You know, that whole "full-time job" thing... gets in the way of me sitting on my couch and losing
So I've been arranging and gardening and painting and rearranging and building and arranging and rearranging again and hanging and leveling and borrowing power tools from coworkers to drill holes in my wall and selling things on Craigslist and working uber-overtime to make my life clean, simple, and beautiful (in a "my furniture is on its way to matching, or at least complementing one another, and my walls are brighter and I have less crap cluttering my house" sort of way). There's just something about seeing a clean, newly-vacuumed floor that just makes my heart go pitter-patter all the livelong day.
Then Father's Day rolled around, and it's like that whole day is just one big fat four-letter word. Father's Day is almost certainly a day that will always reveal the broken side of me. It's a day that everyone else enjoys and celebrates. It fills the restaurants with happy families and clutters the airspace with commercials that feature superhero dads. (seriously, Sears, wouldn't it be easier to just put a knife in my heart?) On Father's Day I feel like the one kid in school that's not allowed to attend the school-wide holiday party, for whatever reason, so I have to sit back and watch all the other kids enjoy the celebration... like the other kids are parading their gifts and treats in front of me, and I have to sit there with an oh-so-fake smile plastered on my face and "ooh" and "aah" over all the revelry. And I'd like to say that I can put on my big girl pants, suck it up, and move past the fact that Sol has no father. I'd like to say that it doesn't bother me when Sol's daycare pulls me aside the week before Father's Day and asks what they should do for her, since all the other kids are making Father's Day gifts for their dads and what should she make? (for the record, that conversation broke me and I cried the whole way home out of sadness for my poor Sol.)
But Father's Day brings me to a new emotional low, regardless of who I'm surrounded by or what I'm doing. Father's Day takes me back to a terrible summer of morning sickness and solitude. Father's Day brings back excruciating memories of Sol's father demanding an abortion. Father's Day reminds me that I'm different and Sol is different. Father's Day stirs up that tiny twinge of guilt and remorse; I can feel it tugging at the back of my throat and through my nose -- the physical manifestation of sorrow. Father's Day rouses that pesky voice deep inside me, telling me that Sol could have had a perfect family. She could have a mother and a father if I had chosen adoption. She could be making a Father's Day card like every other kid in school. Father's Day peels off every layer of certainty from my being and reveals the tiny "what if" portion. Father's Day makes me wonder if I'm doing the right thing, if I've made the right decisions. Father's Day feels like a slap in the face from every two-parent family out there. And no one understands the sadness I'm feeling on Father's Day. ... but why should they?
So as I sit there with my cinnamon toast on Sunday night, listening to reggae music (because I can't bear to watch one more show or movie that features a father), I think really hard about what I'm doing as a mother. I think really hard about the child who's fast asleep upstairs. And just like that, I pick up my plate of cinnamon toast and toss it in the trash (I'm not actually hungry, just sad). I pad quietly up the carpeted stairs and tiptoe into Sol's room. She's fast asleep in a new IKEA crib (oh yeah), under her IKEA leaf canopy (heck yes), in a room filled with artwork advertising sunshine and love. She's so fast asleep, in fact, that I can scoop her up without waking her. So I pick her up from her bed and she lays her head on my shoulder. I take her downstairs to the sofa, brush the cinnamon sugar off the couch cushion, and take a seat with my child, my whole world, sleeping soundly on my chest. I run my fingers through the curly tendrils brushing her neck, and I nuzzle her extra-fabulous cheeks. I kiss each of her fingers and I kiss her forehead. I spend time telling her every wonderful thing about her. I tell her how much I need her in my life, and I tell her how thankful I am to be her mother. I tell her that we are a perfect family in our own way, and I tell her that she will always be the most important thing to me. I tell her that we were meant for each other, and that she will never understand the love I have for her. I know she's fast asleep, but I also know she can hear me on some level. Every positive whisper to my daughter will resonate in her beautiful mind, and I know that hearing these things, whether waking or sleeping, will help my daughter become a strong, confident woman who values independence, yet respects the basic human need for love and companionship.
She is my life. She is the reason for every beat of my heart and every breath I take. No, our life isn't perfectly conventional, but our life is perfectly ours. And the reason for that is love. So as we lay there together and listen to Mr. Marley croon that every little thing is gonna be alright, I know he's right.