I wrote this a while ago, as I was dealing with a heavy wave of depression. I don’t think I have opened up this vulnerably about what its like to be a mother and regularly deal with waves of depression, the second half of my bipolar disorder, however, this feels important to share.
It had been a long day.
A long day of nothing
A long day of staring into my phone scrolling and avoiding
A long day of suffering but ignoring
He walks up to me
Crosses his hands over my shoulder
Rests his cheeks on them
Bats his eyes
“mama, will you play with me?”
He does not ask “can”
Because he knows that I can’t
He asks me if I will
Because he knows I need all of my will to do this
But the answer is still no.
No I cannot play with you baby,
If mommy sits up all those bubbly anxious feelings I have been hoarding in my gut will gradually spread through my system, clog up my mind, cover my eyes and distract me from you.
These worries and burdens and stresses will blur my vision and I won’t reflect that perfect pure love you have given me.
When you giggle about the spins your race car did off the ramp we built down the hall way, I won’t see you,
My darkness has preoccupied me
And you’ll feel the coldness of the world for the first time in your mother’s eyes
So no, baby, mommy can’t play with you.
I don’t want to break you.
You are so valuable to me
And he walks away from my bedside
Like he has every day for the past two weeks
Only this time he won’t beg
Because he knows asking does not always mean receiving
He won’t cry
Because he knows ghosts are not real
He will accept my rejection, head hung low
I cover him with the corner of my melancholy mind
I try to comfort him with independence.
The pain of that moment and the weight of my shadow shifted into his slumped shoulders and shuffled step
Was enough pain to finally tell myself to rise.
Get up. For him.
Don’t let him remember this day, in this way.
Don’t let him remember the hours he spends playing alone
Make him remember the 10 minutes we spend cloud watching
Spotting hearts and krabby patties
Reclined in my car
Don’t let him remember the days you were too distracted to cope
Make him remember how you taught him to look out the window
watching the world.
Spotting Yellow cars and signs
Reading the book of life through quick glimpses in the window of a strangers day.
Don’t let him remember you like this…
Sit him down. Hold his hand.
Repeat after me.
Sometimes mommy can’t play with you, baby,
Mommy’s brain is sick
Mommy’s Brain gets really really sad
Sometimes for no reason,
And sometimes that makes you feel alone.
And sometimes you just want mommy to come to you.
And I always want to come to you.
And you can come to me too.
And we can be together in my bed. With your toys. Or your book. Or your tablet too.
Let’s play a fun game together.
Games are fun.
Sad people like fun.
And sad people like people.
We just don’t know how to ask.