When I start thinking it could go either way, terribly bad or good.
But I was driving Fa to school this morning and the day was starting out to be a wonderfully sunny day.
It reminded me of a time.
It must've been about the same time of year, because I had just started walking again, for exercise, after Fa was born. She was about 4+ months old. She was just coming out, I mean just coming out of her colicky stage. Add that to what I was going through and you had one fucked up JJ.
I took her to the beach to walk on the boardwalk. I had my jogging stroller all ready to go, the tires were filled with air, my sneakers were ready to move, my muscles needed toning...I was looking forward to exercising and getting the baby out of the house...(That was still a big feat back then. I was afraid to leave the house and all.)
I strapped her into the car, drove the 5 minutes to the beach (lucky) and started adjusting her into the stroller. My courage was strong, for some reason that morning...
We took off.
Not three steps onto the boardwalk and she started crying. I kept it going a few more steps. She started crying harder and louder. But I was determined to walk. And she was determined to cry.
I was so nervous that I sat on a bench to try to calm her. Water, formula, sunscreen, clean diaper, hat, shade...all in order. But she was inconsolable. You'd think I'd be used to it by then, but it hurt that minute just like every minute prior. Like someone was stabbing me in the heart over an over again with each wail of her tiny but booming voice.
Like all the other times before, I didn't know what to do. So I sat and cried. On the bench at the beach. Bawling.
And my anger for her welled up inside me like a volcano and I started yelling at her on the boardwalk. For crying.
My four month old.
I was screaming at her.
I feel so guilty for that. For blaming her for my short comings and fears and insecurities. And for actually taking it out on her. Like a mad woman. People were staring and the more they gawked, the louder I yelled, the louder she cried.
I must've been a sight.
I resented her for being a burden when I wanted to walk. I resented her for making me feel so out of control physically and mentally. I was angry at her for taking this time to throw a fit. Like she was doing it on purpose. I was fucking crazy, man.
I think back at that now and I cringe. The guilt is overwhelming.
But I was trying. I really was.
And I used to ask her, "Are you crying because I'm crying or am I crying because you're crying?"
But I pray that my initial actions as a mother will have no bearing on her as she grows. Do they know? Do they remember? Will it effect her in the long run?
We went home shortly after that scene and I waited a little longer to try again. Watching the fear grow with each new failed experience.
But eventually we did it. We got into a groove. And it became a ritual of sorts. Every summer we'd go back, every other day, walking on the boardwalk...counting big, orange garbage cans. She loved those garbage cans. They were evenly spaced throughout the boardwalk and for 3 years she saw them return every summer.
I wish I could have known then what I know now.
I wish that she knew then what I pray she knows now.
That I loved her unconditionally, even if I didn't know it back then. And I love her unconditionally now. And I do my best to show it in every way possible.
I hope my guilt doesn't spill over. I truly do.