I’ve got you where I want you, and now I’m gonna eat you

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This is the life we dreamed of, wanted, planned for. A beautiful house, two children with a third not ruled out, a good dog. His job is solid and good, and I’m on the verge of being hired for a dreamy part-time-that-may-one-day-be-more job. We’ve developed friendships, friendships with people who write, who paint, who plant massive gardens, who keep chickens and goats and cows, who believe in good food. We have a farmers’ market, a favorite farm, a local music scene. We have a vase of mint and lilacs, both from our backyard, on our table. We have the dream.

And right now I am planning a vacation across the country, across the universe. I am learning about Oregon, about Washington. Researching flight costs, camping, breweries, air bnb, public transit, food, hiking, camping. Reaching out to friends who call the west coast states home.

It’s a luxury. One that is indulgent. One I don’t know if we can/should afford. I’m afraid I’ll regret the cost. We’ve a wedding to attend in New York in September. We’ll likely have to head south for a funeral in the next year. And there are always the surprise expenses in life.

On the other hand, it’s a trip we’ve wanted since we first began dating. It’s our first real trip in ages that is not for family, that is to a place neither of us has been.

I’m afraid I will never want to come back. I’m afraid that the wild coast and the mountains so near and the rains and the people and the protected places will sing their siren songs and I will strain against the bonds that lash me to this place. I’m afraid that I will leave my heart behind.

Impossible

It’s all unstoppable forces and immoveable objects around here in the mornings. It’s the baby’s cries and screams unless he’s being held right now and it’s “But I can’t, mama” and “No, I don’t want that one” and a million other toddler demands. It’s spills and smears and spit-up. It’s screeches and shouts. It’s elbows and knees. It’s completely melting down or shattering and knowing that I can’t take a moment to recover because I can’t just magic the two of them away for a moment. So I stop crying or yelling and I coo at the baby and I apologize to the toddler, explaining my emotions and frustrations in simple toddlerspeak. It’s regret that I slammed the door or threw the still-inside-out Batman underwear across the room.

If we can only get past those first hours, the needs that start before I’m even out of bed, the needs that do not let up until we are all dressed and changed/pottied and downstairs and fed, we can make it. There’s a backyard for digging, a dirt road for walking, beach boulders for climbing, libraries full of puzzles and toys, grocery stores crowded with people to charm. Lunch and nap time and Dada’s return home. A partner in parenting.

It’s just those first three hours that leave me sobbing and empty and completely in over my head.