My CocoonJanuary 18, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in Family, Transylvania | 25 Comments
Tags: Anxiety, Balance, Challenges, Life, Lists, Motherhood, Moving, Newborns, Sleep, Winter
Giggles was born in the middle of December. Cold, rainy December.
Once we were home from the hospital, we tried to find our groove as parents of two. For us, that meant my husband took charge of Lollipop’s needs, and I cared for baby Giggles. I remember endless cycles of feeding him, changing him, soothing him, and tiptoeing away after he had fallen asleep. And I remember the cold.
Once he was settled, I would burrow down into a nest of warm blankets on the couch. I tucked the bottom ends around my toes and the top ends over my head. I curled up in my dark cocoon, breathing in and out, in and out, in and out, until the air around me turned warm and balmy.
Inside the blankets, I slept. Deep, disorienting, dream-filled sleep, an hour here, an hour there. Under the blankets, I could shut out the drafty air, the noises on the street, the alarm clocks and coffeepots and microwaves in my own house. My body rested while my brain recharged and prepared to emerge, exhaustion transformed into efficiency.
The funny thing is, I’ve never been able to sleep like that, wrapped completely, before or since. My claustrophobia gets the best of me. The warm air becomes stifling. I need to poke out my nose or a toe.
But for those few weeks, that cold December, when my body needed the comfort of dark, hot silence, I could.
If I’m honest, the enormity of our to-do list, all the loose ends that need tying up (or packing up) in preparation for the big move, is crushing sometimes. It’s exhausting to think about, let alone do. Much like mothering a newborn. There’s so much to tackle. There’s not enough time. There’s self-doubt, anxiety, and thousands of ordinary things — laundry, dinner, dance class, diaper changes — that need to continue happening.
This weekend, it got to me. I felt mentally paralyzed, just as unable and uninterested in making sandwiches for lunch as I was in making inquiries into Romanian preschools.
So I curled up on the couch, burrowed under a blanket, and shut out the world for an hour. I unearthed my cocoon.
Trains raced on the table beside me. A tea party took place in the kitchen. My husband clicked away on the computer, comparing trans-Atlantic flights and layovers, researching double strollers, and looking for good deals on giant suitcases.
In the dark, in the heat, I shut it out. All of it.
And I emerged, still tired and unsure, but a little lighter, a little steadier, a little stronger. Ready to face the cold and the rain. Ready to face myself.
How do you shut out the world? Do you ever have so much to do that you can’t do anything? And why does sleeping help??