Friday, September 23, 2011

Update

The melancholy is morphing into a more generalized melancholic strangeness. The sight of a toad in the woods--its small moist lumpy self hopping and hiding--makes me cry. Birdy shoves her hands preemptively into her pockets on the walk home, and I hear myself saying, "One day you'll want to hold my hand, but I'll be dead." Luckily, I hear this only in my mind, but it's unsettling that a sentence like that could form, even unuttered. I wake in the night and lie awake; I read and fret and listen to the eggs shriveling in my ovaries and try to extract more love from the pussycat than he is really interested in sharing. "Kitty!" I chastise. "You have to let me hold you like a baby." And he is too sleepy to protest further. "Oh sorry honey, did I wake you?" I say to Michael, after I turn the light on and wake him. He is good for throwing a heavy leg over me, tethering me back to bed, reuniting me with the basic comfort of gravity.

Life is good. It's just late September, I guess. I'll be away on Monday, but will check back in later in the week. Enjoy your weekend, patient friends.

xo Catherine

37 comments:

  1. Jolynn10:16 AM

    Hang in there, Catherine. Your writing brings so much inspiration and humor to so many of us. When I first read "Waiting for Birdy," I laughed so hard I was crying, and I was crying because someone *understood* the intense beauty and craziness of young kids and I didn't feel alone in my experience. "Are you OK?" my husband tentatively asked from the other room. "Yes, I just LOVE this book," I sobbed. And now, whenever he compliments me on a great recipe, all I have to utter are the words "Catherine Newman," and he nods knowingly, "Oh ... of course."

    On a lighter note, have you considered a puppy? We recently got a 15-week-old Cavachon, and she's bursting with love. It's helped me with the transition of my daughter starting kindergarten.

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  2. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Oh. My. Goodness. Do I hear you, Catherine. So very much so. Thank you for sharing all of this with us. (even though I say these same things every time) Sigh. It is plentiful and yet heartbreaking, yes. (from 2kidslife, someday I will learn how to do my google account, I swear!)

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  3. I have a sleepy kitty on me right now, acquired in part because at the shelter she let me hold her like a baby. In fact, I have been sitting here typing the way I used to type with a newborn on my chest, and was just now having thoughts about how I'm in the long transitional stage between motherhood and grandmotherhood.

    I think we need some pie, don't you?

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  4. Jill Messner11:48 AM

    Have you thought about a SAD light? It really should be called the happy light, because it makes the "shuffling around the house in my pj's wondering if it is time for the kids to be home yet" feeling ease up a bit.

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  5. Oh Catherine, tell us everything dear. Here's a hug. XO

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  6. Vitamin D!!! I have my husband on 8,000 IU a day to prevent cluster headaches and his levels are still showing as low. I can tell in his mood as well as my own when our D levels are taking a dip... I take 4,000iu myself.

    Hang on. Winter's almost here. Odd you're the only one that's a comfort to!

    Why is my word verification Buglove?! What the hell...

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  7. i know how you feel with birdy and hand holding. my son (81/2) will still hold my hand occasionaly, but in 3rd grade the teachers are trying to make them so much more independant (than they really need to be, but that's my opinion) so, when i think sometimes that he is too old to be holding my hand etc, I instead think to cherish & enjoy every minute of it and not to care what others think!

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  8. Thanks Catherine. Only you can do melancholy so poetically well. Does that even make sense? I know you understand.

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  9. pie, vitamin d, and a sad light. love you guys.

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  10. Catherine, I feel just like you! Thank you for expressing it for all of us in your amazing way. Many hugs.

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  11. Anonymous2:54 PM

    Fall is my favorite season, the crisp nights and perfect days. The vibrant colours of the leaves. As for winter now, I'll be sobbing in December. Bring on the SAD light. It helps. Some.
    A fan from the cold white north AKA Qu├ębec

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  12. I don't like fall either, but for way more shallow reasons. I dislike the orange/yellow/brown decorations, clothes, signage, magazine covers that are everywhere in the fall. Give me the bright spring and summer colors! I even like the crisp winter colors. But fall? Blech.

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  13. Jamie4:50 PM

    I mean this with all love and good intentions, but maybe have your hormone levels checked? Perimenopause (!) can do strange things. Because this "One day you'll want to hold my hand but I'll be dead" does seem....something, anyway. Meanwhile, perhaps a pumpkin muffin and a latte would do your soul good. Hang in!

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  14. Kimberly B5:01 PM

    I got a cat like you, instead of having another baby, and now (two years later) I just got some chickens. Being a crazy urban farm lady takes up enough of my time that the melancholic thoughts don't have room...and I guess four years after my husband's vasectomy I have started to finally be convinced that it worked :)

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  15. Allison5:10 PM

    I wish you were not so melancholy, Catherine, but I do so love the way you express it. I'll remember the "One day you'll want to hold my hand BUT OH WAIT I'LL BE DEAD" sentiment for my own future use! :)

    Hope the pie, Vitamin D and SAD light help. And remember, you have a beautiful, blessed life that includes a bunch of goofy Internet aunties wishing you well ...

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  16. ladidah5:25 PM

    one more suggestion: move to california. we just did, and there are none of those pesky seasons to make you all emotional. ;))))))))

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  17. Erin K.5:32 PM

    Hey - There is a really great, thoughtful article in the most recent National Geographic on the Teenage Brain - my kids are only 5 & 7 but still 15 is right around the corner :)

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  18. Erin K.5:38 PM

    Here is the link to the Nat. Geo article for "Beautiful Brains"
    http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/featurehub

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  19. Hi Catherine! I wanted to suggest that you look into the worldwide 100,000 Poets for Change event that is happening tomorrow. I think you would get a big kick out of it:
    http://www.bigbridge.org/100thousandpoetsforchange/

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  20. I've noticed myself calling the dog "Baby" lately. My giant fluffy dog. Here Baby, come give Mama a snuggle. I've turned into a crazy dog lady.

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  21. LisaAnn49:20 PM

    I have lately been looking longingly at those baby/toddler days when I could spend all day with my daughter without any outside obligations except walking to the library to return books. Now with school, dreaded (by me!) homework and basketball practice, I feel actual enjoyable time is at a minimum! I'm glad I'm not the only one who still wants the days of having her kids attached to her with a sling! Sigh!

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  22. I almost wrote something after your last post about fall, but I feel like my comments are so consistently like, "yeah, me too, wow, me too!" that I thought occasionally I should skip one. But now I'll say what I was going to say before, and that is this. I am always looking forward to fall like crazy. The chill in the air, the beautiful colors, the food (oh, the food!), everything. And all our family birthdays in November, and Thanksgiving, and on and on. I find myself longing for fall at random times all year long. And then, and then... fall comes and I remember. Fall is kind of a sad time, too. It's a little dreary, and lonely, and so melancholy for me, too. A few days ago I was out and I saw a baby in a stroller and almost cried, and it's been prickly like that all week. So, this very long winded post is meant to say, I feel ya. And even more importantly, hang in there. It's probably a slump, a sag, and soon it will be brighter.

    -Loren

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  23. Anonymous11:28 PM

    Lately, I've begun to realize that I am someone who will ALWAYS be wistful about pregnancy, babies, and young children; happy for those who are in the moment, but also quietly envious. Catherine, I think that you are a kindred spirit, and, really, the sadness we feel over this passing stage is directly proportionate to the joy and gratitude we've felt in our mom roles; it basically means that we've done a wonderful job! Have a good cry, give yourself a break, and know that loving thoughts are coming your way from all over the country.

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  24. deanna12:14 AM

    Ah lovely melancholy. I am trying to age gracefully, letting my hair turn gray, as my mom and her mom did before me. trying to appreciate my floppy belly skin, and my droopy bosom. trying to live in the moment. this is who I am. I am a great me, you are a great you. be glad.

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  25. Mostly I love you. I feel much the same. I think it's just the dying before we go frozen and then burst back to life in the spring!
    You are one of the dearest of all the hearts.

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  26. Anonymous12:18 PM

    chiming in on the SAD light subject... after 12 yrs living in winters in New Jersey (after 10 yrs in sunny LA), my husband bought me a SAD light.... and then would remind me "um, weepy wife, have you done your lightbox?" Just an update, I checked out book from library on SAD, and I swear there was a testimony from a woman who lived through dark winters feeling so horrible, and after only ONE winter always doing lightbox every single day....boom. zero zero zero feeling horrible. (apparently I feel I must repeat that word for emphasis! lol) Hugs, Catherine. (from 2kidslife)

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  27. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Oh Catherine, I can't tell you how important reading your blog is to me. After I'd had my first child I received a bunch of baby books from loving family and friends, but it wasn't until I received Dr. Sears Baby book did I feel like someone understood what my mothering instincts felt like to me.. I wanted my baby close to me 24 hours a day and I wanted to nurse her all the time etc. etc... The way I felt about Dr. Sears book is the way I've always felt about your writing... my eyes well up every time I read your writing because it resonates so much for me and my mothering. I am having similar emotional struggles lately with my children aging and knowing that I am not going to have any more. It means the world to me to have you in my life (even though you don't know me) because I feel more normal and ok in my melancholy ways. Thank you for being so eloquent and expressing what I feel too.

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  28. as craftsister said, "yeah, me too, wow, me too!" especially hearing my eggs shrivel up. can't I have just one more little baby?

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  29. Anonymous12:13 PM

    I'm right there with you, friend.

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  30. Or instead of a puppy another baby? Those always seem to cheer me up!

    I read your article in parenting about fund raising. I hope more schools think outside the box about fund raising.

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  31. Catherine, the other day my three year old daughter said to me, "When I'm grown up, you'll be lost." When I asked her why she thinks that, she said, "because I won't miss you anymore!" Duuuude. Break a Mama's heart why don't you?

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  32. Anonymous8:55 AM

    Catherine, check out today's NY Times Dining section - they have a recipe for grape focaccia.

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  33. no no no, don't move to california!!! i lost my instant cheer-upper to california!! (who happens to be ladidah) :)

    miss you ladidah. catherine: i'm sending virtual hugs and freshly popped popcorn with butter your way! :)

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  34. Oh, God, your words are so beautiful. And your commenters' are, too. Sigh and sniffle.

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  35. catherine newman, your writing is like crack to my autumn soul. which is why ive signed in, like, 7 times in the past two days in search of a new post. really, i love this blog.

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  36. Catherine, you're amazing. And you're reminding me to order a SAD lamp, which every November I regret not having ordered in August.

    What a writer! What a thinker! What a cook!

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  37. I don't know...maybe it's like Ben's Montessori teacher said. Sometimes you just want to be sad. Of course, if you don't, and pie isn't helping, a run with some loud music helps too. I usually get my weeping and railing against the universe and my fury and my prayer/bargaining finished in the first two miles, and then am like the Nutcracker swan boat floating serenely along thinking about nothing after that. It's heaven, that nothing. I've had to do it a lot lately behind a stroller at 4am, when our teething toddler has exhausted all patience. There's nothing better than laughing at the ridiculousness of your own despair on those mornings!

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